It is ANZAC day today. Today, Australians and New Zealanders remember and honour the fallen soldiers who died at Gallipoli (in Turkey) in 1915.
Due to unfortunate military errors, the soldiers were landed on a beach faced by small cliffs. The soldiers valiantly clambered up and over these cliffs, only to be mown down by waiting Turkish soldiers. Thousands of soldiers were slaughtered in this manner.
In 1997, I visited Gallipoli - a pilgrimage made my many young Australians. I saw the inhospitable landing site. I stood in the cold dawn, thinking of all the young Australians who died at that very site, eighty-two years before me. I couldn't help but be deeply moved and eternally grateful.
Strange, though, that what brought me to tears were these words of a Turkish commander (Ataturk, 1934), written on a wall ...........
"Those heroes that shed their blood
and lost their lives....
you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country
therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
and the Mehmets where they lie side by side
here in this country of ours...
You, the mothers,
who sent their sons from far away countries
wipe away your tears;
Your sons are in our bosom
and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well."