In addition to recognising the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have served in war or on peacekeeping operations Anzac Day has become core to the identity of Australia itself, a day on which Australians reflect on the ANZAC spirit and its place in Australia today.
ANZAC is an acronym and stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps, the name given to the body of troops raised by the two countries to aid the British Empire in The Great War. Throughout the war Australian and New Zealand troops, or 'Diggers' and 'Kiwis', would live, fight and die alongside each other creating a bond that still exists today between the two nations.
Anzac Day is also inextricably linked with the landings at Gallipoli in the Dardenelles Strait on 25 April 1915. On this day ANZAC troops were committed to their first major action of the war, and though the campaign would ultimately prove a bloody failure and leave more than 8,000 Australians dead, it marked the beginning of the ANZAC legend and the birth of the ANZAC spirit.
This was poignantly put into words by Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia on Anzac Day 1999:
'ANZAC is not merely about loss. It is about courage, and endurance, and duty, and love of country, and mateship, and good humour and the survival of a sense of self-worth and decency in the face of dreadful odds.'