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After two years of COVID-19 restrictions that saw many commemorate dawn services in their driveways, 2022 marked the first time that many have been able to return to full capacity services since the pandemic.
Huge crowds were drawn to cenotaphs in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Perth to remember the sacrifice Australia’s military personnel have made in defence of the nation.
In Canberra, Defence Veteran Michael Ruffin gave a moving dawn service address in which he spoke about the power of mateship even in the face of extreme adversity.
He spoke of one operation in Vietnam in 1968 when his patrol group were ambushed, forcing the men to flee across open ground while under heavy fire.
“In hindsight, it seemed inconceivable that five men could run across 100m of open ground whilst being subjected to that amount of fire and not receive a single gunshot wound,” he said.
“Had any one of us been wounded that had would have been the end, as we would never have left a mate behind.”
The solemnity of Anzac Day was not lost on the nation’s politicians, who put party lines to rest during the Federal election campaign to attend dawn services.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles shared a handshake at a dawn service in Darwin, which is marking the 80th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin during WWII.
As Australians commemorated the day, so too did New Zealanders: Across the ditch and hours earlier huge crowds gathered to remember those lost in military action at Gallipoli in the first World War.
Over eight months in 1915 the allies attempted to take the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey in what would be a bold strike against the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany at the time.
However the confrontation ended in a stalemate, as allied forces battled rough ground and heavily fortified Turkish defensive lines.
In all more than 8700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders were killed and the allied forces were eventually evacuated.
Despite the action being universally considered a loss, the Anzac legend was born: one in which soldiers from halfway around the war fought valiantly, defended their mates, showed good humour and pioneered several military techniques under extreme duress.