This is the second ANZAC Day dawn service my husband and I attended.
Being Asians, we found ourselves the minority at the dawn service which is perfectly reasonable given that ANZAC Day is commemorated by Australia and New Zealand on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.
However, what motivated us was the sense of belongingness. As migrants to Australia for more than 15 years, we have adopted this beautiful country as our own. I felt almost compelled and obligated to know more about ANZAC Day and as understanding increases, so is the sense of gratitude towards those men/women who served the country to protect the freedom we enjoy today.
We attended the dawn service held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne (Victoria’s largest and most visited war memorial and is probably Melbourne’s most recognised landmark). Departing home about 3:30am, the air was cold but the walk to the Shrine from Fawkner Park (there's where we parked the car) warmed us up very quickly and the sense of anticipation quicken our footsteps as we met many others walking towards the same direction on the way.
As we reached the Shrine, there was already a big crowd. The crowd huddled together and rugged up in scarfs, hats and gloves. Some smoked, some even laid out a picnic rug and brought foldable chairs, determined to get a good "seat" to hear the speech.
It was later reported that an estimated 35,000 people braving the cold to mark the 93rd anniversary of Australian and New Zealand troops landing at Gallipoli at the Shrine of Remembrance. What is even more encouraging is the fact that it was attended by veterans, as well as young families and children of all ages.