The 2017 Anzac Day Dawn Service at Gallipoli in Turkey on Tuesday was attended by far fewer people than in recent years. With less than 1000 Anzac pilgrims from Australia and New Zealand in attendance, it was the lowest turnout since records began being kept just over 10 years ago.
Several reasons have been given for the dramatic fall in the numbers of pilgrims this year. As well as the heightened fear of terrorism following a specific threat being made against the Gallipoli Anzac ceremonies as well as a recent string of terror attacks in Turkey, political unrest in the country following last year’s attempted coup and the fact that so many people attended the centenary event two years ago may also have contributed to the vastly thinned out crowd.
This year Foreign Minister Julie Bishop led the tributes this year on behalf of Australia at Anzac Cove.
“As we gather here this morning we each pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces who have carried on the Anzac tradition for the past century and more — that spirit of courage, mateship, endurance and sacrifice that has forged our national character and identity,” Ms Bishop said.
“April 25 is etched into our calendar as a most sacred national day, not by a government edict or decree, but through the deep understanding of generations of Australians that this horrendous sacrifice was made in our name and for our nation, our freedoms, our democratic values and our way of life,” she added.
Ms Bishop was moved to tears when laying wreaths at the graves of fallen Australians at Lone Pine.
“Gathered in this most sacred of places, the graves of our warrior soldiers nearby, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the terrible legacy of war,” she said.
“We owe it to each and every ANZAC who fought here – in our name, for our people – to honour the fundamental freedoms, democratic ideals and way of life that they defended and that we have inherited,” she added.
TOP IMAGE: Anzac Day at Gallipoli – Dawn Service (File image)