Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day is one of the most important national remembrance days in Australia and New Zealand, broadly commemorating all those who served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. It is held every year on the 25th of April, on the anniversary of the first troop landings at Gallipoli during World War I. Marking exactly 100 years since that day, commemorations are being held around the world in 2015, including in the US.
Acts of remembrance on ANZAC Day usually take the forms of commemorative services and ceremonies. The day traditionally begins with commemorative services, which are held at dawn, at the time of the original landing on Gallipoli in 1915. Originally restricted only to veterans, in the recent years families and young people have been encouraged to take part in such services. Commemorative ceremonies are also held at war memorials around the country and around the world.
Several cities across the US honor the memories of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand every year with their own ANZAC Day ceremonies. Due to the large population of expatriates from New Zealand and Australia in Southern California, the biggest commemorative ceremony in the US is expected to be the one in Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, California. This service is hosted by the New Zealand and Australian Consulates-General. In New York, a ceremony is held in the roof garden on top of the British Empire Building in Rockefeller Center, which overlooks St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This event has been an annual tradition for more than 60 years, since it was first held in 1950. Washington, DC holds a dawn service each year at the Korean War Veterans Memorial, joined by Australian and Kiwi serviceman.
The importance of the US-Australia relationship, including the fact that the two countries have cooperated in every military conflict since World War I, was recently profiled in the new Australia Matters for America/America Matters for Australia publication, released earlier this month.
Sakura Kajimura was a recent Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and is an undergraduate student at the University of Western Australia.