ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day photos – Terrigal 2016

Dawn Service at Terrigal

Around three thousand people attended the Dawn Service at Terrigal Beach on a crystal clear morning yesterday.

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Poppies on the Skillion

And the spectacular poppies on the Skillion draw enormous attention across the nation and the world.

SkyMedia Productions filmed this aerial view of the incredible 60,000 poppies, displayed on Terrigal Skillion for ANZAC Day 2016.

The Poppy Project

To coincide with ANZAC Day 2016 and the 100 year anniversary of the Western Front of World War one, the Poppy Project organised community members to create a field of handmade poppies on the Skillion as a symbol of community unity and our gratitude to all those that made sacrifices during WWI.

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The Flanders poppy grew profusely in the trenches and craters own the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium.  Artillery shells and shrapnel stirred up the earth and exposed the seeds to the light they needed to germinate.

The Flanders poppy has long been a part of Remembrance Day, the ritual that marks the Armistice of 11 November 1918, and is increasingly being used as part of Anzac Day observances.

During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium.

In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground. The sight of poppies on the battlefield at Ypres in 1915 moved Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write the poem In Flanders fields.

In the literature of WW1, a powerful symbolism was attached to the poppy – the sacrifice of shed blood.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Moina Michael, who worked for the American YMCA, read McCrae’s poem just before the Armistice. She was so moved by it that she wrote a poem in reply and decided to wear a red poppy always as a way of keeping faith, as McCrae had urged in his poem. At a meeting of YMCA secretaries from other countries, held in November 1918, she talked about the poem and her poppies. Anna Guérin, the French YMCA secretary, took the idea further by selling poppies to raise money for widows, orphans, and needy veterans and their families.

The poppy soon became widely accepted throughout the allied nations as the flower of remembrance to be worn on Armistice Day.

The Australian Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League (the forerunner to the RSL) first sold poppies for Armistice Day in 1921. For this drive, the league imported one million silk poppies, made in French orphanages. Each poppy was sold for a shilling: five pence was donated to a charity for French children, six pence went to the League’s own welfare work, and one penny went to the League’s national coffers. Today the RSL continues to sell poppies for Remembrance Day to raise funds for its welfare work.

The poppy has also become very popular in wreaths used on Anzac Day. An early instance took place in Palestine, where poppies grow abundantly in the spring. At the Dawn Service in 1940, each soldier dropped a poppy as he filed past the Stone of Remembrance. A senior Australian officer also a laid a wreath of poppies picked from the slopes of Mt Scopus.

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place: and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872–1918)

 

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