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Document - ANZAC Commemoration Ceremony for Students

From the Collection of Melbourne Legacy 293 Swanston Street Melbourne Victoria

Description
Text of a speech at one of the Annual Anzac Commemoration Service for Students, typed on quarto size paper in black ink and folded in half.
Size
210 x 130 mm, 4 pages
Object Registration
01180
Keywords
anzac commemoration for students, wreath laying ceremony
Historical information
A copy of an Anzac Day Address at the Anzac Commemoration Ceremony for Students, the year is unknown but it is presumably the address given by the President of Legacy. It seems to be one of the earlier ceremonies. It was stored with documents about the building of the Shrine and another speech from the 1939 service. The presenter had probably served in World War 1 so was very close to the events he was talking about.
The ceremony provides a valuable opportunity for students to gain an appreciation of the Anzac spirit, the significance of the Shrine and the meaning of Anzac Day.
The ceremony is usually attended by representatives from schools throughout the state and the Governor of Victoria.
The text says: 'We have gathered here too commemorate the historic landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula of the Australian and New Zealand troops on the 25th of April 1915 - the day that has come to be universally known as Anzac Day. . .
I expect most of you know how the word 'Anzac' came into being. How General Birdwood and his officers took the first letters of the words Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and formed them into the code word "Anzac". They did not expect it would become the famous name by which the men fighting under them would become known. But it did, and Anzac Day has become Australia's greatest national day because on that day Australia's manhood was put to its first great test.
You see up to that that time, the world knew very little about us. We had not, thank God, ever had to fight for the existence of our Nationhood and everything we hold most dear. Everyone wondered how our men would compare with the men of other nations when a real crises arose. . . .
You have been told there thrilling story of Anzac Day. Of the landing at dawn on that terrible coast: the hand to hand fighting that went on continuously all that day and through the days and nights that followed. How the Anzacs - outnumbered, exhausted and tortured by thirst held on, and how during the terrible nine months that ensued all the efforts of a brave enemy to dislodge them failed.
Such was their gallantry that a British Officer described the Australian soldier as "The bravest thing God ever made". What a wonderful tribute that was; and how proud we should be of the men who earned it.
. . . These men carried on all the traditions of the Anzacs and made a wonderful name for Australia and New Zealand in France, in Belgium, in Egypt and Palestine and in all the theatres of war in which they served.
And this great Shrine was build by the people of Victoria, not in any boastful sense of Victory, not in any attempt to glorify war - which is a horrible, dreadful thing, but in memory of those thousands of Victorian sailors and soldiers who so loved their country that they laid down their lives in her service. . .
All of them were brave, but do not think that a soldier who is brave need alway be a great warrior. I hope when you have passed through the Shrine you will go and see a little bronze statue near the road yonder. A statue of a man leading a donkey which carries a wounded comrade. You will see the soldier leading the donkey carries no weapons. Yet he was a hero indeed, for he saved the lives of scores of his comrades at Anzac by carrying wounded from the battle to safety and the hospital. And in the end he too gave his life for his friends. . .
Let us all try to help each other in peace as they did in war. Instead of divisions, let us have unity. If we think of no one but ourselves we shall not achieve anything nor shall we deserve to. Let those of you who are strong help those who are not so strong - all through life - like John Simpson, the man with the donkey did.
Be proud of your country and do nothing to dishonour it. If you get an order from one in authority, obey it, even if you do not understand it.A good solider always obeys his orders. If he did not, he may bring disaster and cause harm to his fellow soldiers. Remember that those thousands of men died so that we could still live here in freedom. A country is judged by its citizens. Let us be worthy of those great citizens who have left us the legacy of their fame and devotion to duty.
And when you file through the Shrine and look down on the Rock of Remembrance, read the inscription on it, "Greater Love Hath No Man", remember those wonderful words written in the greatest book in the world nearly two thousand years ago, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend."
Significance
A record of a ceremony at the Shrine for school students. The text of the speech is significant in that it was written by a man who had probably served in World War 1 and knew first hand what it meant to be part of the first Anzacs.
Inscriptions & Markings
Handwritten in blue pen 'Shrine, Children's Service'
Last updated
15 Apr 2019 at 11:06AM