Dawn service to mark Anzac Day

Saturday is the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day, commemorating the day forces from Australia and New Zealand landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in the two countries’ first major operation in World War I.  

Australian and New Zealand nationals, as well as all others in the community who wish to attend, will gather for a dawn service at the South Sound dock to mark the day. A fundraiser will be held in the afternoon for the widows of soldiers from the two countries. 

Anzac Day has become a national day of remembrance for the two countries, marking not only the failed invasion of the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey, but honoring all those from New Zealand and Australia who were killed and wounded in wars and other military operations.  

Matthew Bishop, a New Zealander who is organizing the dawn service, said the failed invasion is part of Australia’s and New Zealand’s national identities. “There were a lot of mistakes made in that campaign,” he said, “It was a turning point in national consciousness.” 

The dawn service is part of the tradition for Anzac Day, dating back to the years when fighting still raged in Europe’s Great War. Australians and New Zealanders in those countries and around the world also mark the day with marches and other memorial services. 

“It’s a somber time, really. It’s a moment of reflection for the men and women who have died,” Mr. Bishop said.  

This is the 15th year a dawn service will be held in Cayman, he said. An Australian and a New Zealander in Cayman will read the commemoration statements from the high commissioners of their respective countries. 

Mr. Bishop said 20 to 30 people normally show up at Cayman’s annual Anzac Day commemoration, but this year he said he expects more like 50 to 60 people for the dawn service. “This is a special day on the calendar for both New Zealand and Australia,” he said. 

Starting at 2 p.m., the group will host a social fundraiser at Duke’s, near Public Beach, to raise money for Legacy, an organization supporting widows and widowers of the war dead from the two countries. 

Poppies decorate a commemorating wall with the names of fallen servicemen at a cemetery and memorial site in Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey. The Cayman Islands will mark the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day Saturday with a dawn service at Sound Sound dock. – PHOTO: AP