Island marks its first ANZAC Day commemoration
Bermuda-based Australians and New Zealanders were able to take part in a national holiday honouring their war dead yesterday, despite being thousands of miles from home.
Around 40 nationals, along with Governor George Fergusson and representatives from the Bermuda Legion, gathered at the Cenotaph in Hamilton at dawn to pay their respects to war veterans who had fought and died in two World Wars and other military campaigns.
ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is held on April 25 every year in the Antipodes.
The date marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, which saw thousands of ANZAC troops perish during an effort by the Allies to open up a new front in Turkey during the First World War.
The invasion, which was abandoned after reaching a deadlock eight months later, was launched at dawn and as a result, memorial services honouring veterans have been held at first light ever since.
Yesterday’s service began at 6.20am with an opening address by event coordinator Jane Chapman.
“Our residence in Bermuda is symbolic of island communities that are remote from family and friends, and is aligned with the experiences of ANZAC troops sent to faraway battlefields, the essence of what we are remembering today,” Ms Chapman, an Australian, said.
“This morning, we remember the sacrifices of our heritage homeland and those of our current home, Bermuda.”
Following prayers read by Bermuda Regiment Chaplain David Raths, Governor George Fergusson read a commemorative address before a wreath was laid at the base of the Cenotaph.
The Last Post was sounded by a Bermuda Regiment bugler, followed by a minute’s silence and Reveille, after which the National Anthems of Britain, Australia and New Zealand were sung.
Following the service, Ms Chapman said she believed it was the first time that her countrymen living in Bermuda had been able to honour the occasion here.
“This first dawn service in Bermuda characterised the traditional and special ANZAC spirit for Australian and New Zealanders in commemorating and honouring the sacrifices of our veterans,” she said.
“The ANZAC ideals of courage, endurance and comradeship are particularly relevant in the context of our Bermudian community.
“We look forward to collaborating with the Bermuda Regiment and others to make this an annual ceremony, and being part of other Remembrance events held in Bermuda.”
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