Posted by: scribe9 | November 12, 2009

No Veteran’s Day

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day, or Remembrance Day as the British and Canadians call it, but it’s not a holiday in New Zealand. Here the day to remember veterans and wars is closer to the beginning than the end of World War I. Anzac Day—Australia and New Zealand Army Corps Day—is April 25, the day in 1915 that the newly-formed Corps invaded Gallipoli as part of the campaign against Turkey. Winston Churchill and others planned the operation and supplied the troops poorly, with the unsurprising results of huge casualties.

Anzac Day morning (the invasion started at dawn), marked by sunrise services and lengthy parades, is one of the most important holidays here, along with Christmas and Good Friday (which, in this rapidly secularizing society, has become more an excuse for a three-day—or four-day, with Easter Monday—weekend at the end of summer, sort of like Labor Day in the US, observing the last camping trip.

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