Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ataturk Memorial, Wellington, New Zealand

Hi there

ANZAC Day (25th April, poppy day) is fast approaching.  The acronym stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and though it incorporates all the armed forces in every skirmish/war/battle/posting, it does tend to concentrate a lot on Gallipoli in commemorations.  For months in 1915 our two countries' combined troops existed in hellish conditions, beaten down by low rations, muddy trench-life, fast-spreading diseases, untended wounds, and seemingly never-ending deaths.  They were down on the beach, the opposition troops high up in the hills.

In Wellington, there is the Ataturk monument.  Ataturk was Turk leader in 1915.  Recently, the Anzacs wanted to rename the Gallipoli cove where their soldiers died to ANZAC Cove, and this was allowed, but in exchange Australia and New Zealand were asked to put up monuments in recognition of the Turkish leader, Ataturk. 

The Ataturk monument in Wellington - go to the Cook Strait end of the airport runway, travel east and in a few bays' time, you'll come to it.  There's, maybe, a 5 or 10 minute climb up cut-out steps, but the view is totally worth it.

Ataturk's 1935 words are on the monument:

Those heroes who 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 to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours.  You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosoms and are in peace.  After having lost their lives on this land they become our sons as well.

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