• Ceremony commemorates ANZAC Day

  • CAC and Fort Leavenworth conducted its annual ANZAC Day ceremony April 25 at Abrams Loop in front of the Lewis and Clark Center.

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    The Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth conducted its annual ANZAC Day ceremony April 25 at Abrams Loop in front of the Lewis and Clark Center.
    Participating in the laying of the ceremonial wreaths at dawn were Lt. Col. Arran Hassell, Australian Defence Force; Maj. Iain Hill, New Zealand Defence Force; and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Kem, provost of Army University and deputy commandant of the Command and General Staff College.
    Hassell, who also led the observance proceedings, said ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and became a nickname for the soldiers who served in the combined force. ANZAC Day marks the date of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I.
    “The Australian and New Zealand forces landed at Gallipoli on this date 102 years ago and formed part of the force that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula,” Hassell said. “It turned out to be a significant battle with the Turkish Ottoman forces, an ally of Germany. The entire campaign lasted eight months and resulted in many lives lost.”
    Kem said the ANZAC Day commemorative ceremony depicts solemn reverence. Kem said Australia and New Zealand were still relatively newly formed nations at the time and had come together as military forces for the first time in history.
    Kem said ANZAC Day has a similar significance to Australia and New Zealand as Bunker Hill does for Americans. He said the protracted campaign was also a bellwether moment for those countries.
    “It’s also a tremendous event regarding subsequently being a defining time for both of those new nations fighting with the allies against the Central Powers,” Kem said. “Each has been Western Allies from that point forward through World War II, Vietnam and into modern times.”
    Before the commemorative address given by Hassell and Capt. Jake Boersen of the New Zealand Defence Force, Jacob Rooney, a seventh-grader at Patton Junior High School read “In Flanders Fields,” a poem written by John McCrae during World War I. Rooney said the poem is one of the most favored from that period and emphasizes remembrance.
    “I felt honored to do the reading for the ANZAC Day ceremony,” Rooney said. “‘In Flanders Fields’ commemorates the soldiers who had fallen during World War I.”
    A “gunfire breakfast” followed the ceremony inside the Lewis and Clark Center. The breakfast, which is a part of the ANZAC Day experience, serves as a reminder of the simple morning meal soldiers ate during World War I — often only biscuits and jam or tinned beef served with coffee containing condensed milk or alcohol.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dale Cleland and John Bauer provided a bagpipe duo as prelude music and the Leavenworth High School Army Junior ROTC Color Guard conducted the mounting of the catafalque party.
    “It was an honor to participate in this ceremony. It’s what we do,” said Cadet Master Sgt. Deven Knowles, leader of the LHS JROTC Color Guard. “We’re happy to represent our school and community by contributing to functions like this one.”
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