Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. 

Observed on 25 April each year (a National Holiday), Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).

In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was an ally of Germany during the war.

The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April but the campaign miserably failed and dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were humiliated and evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The Allied deaths totaled over 56,000, including 8,709 from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand. 

Thereafter, Australia, has remained a staunch Ally of Western World, and has participated in almost all wars started by West / NATO, say it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Libya. It is now member of Quartz, a four membered Naval force, sponsored by USA to counter China.

Australia provided one of the four most substantial combat force contingents during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, under the operational codename Operation Falconer. Part of its contingent were among the first forces to enter Iraq after the official “execute” order. A year later, Australia expanded its military commitment from Iraq into Syria to conduct operations against ISIS militants located there. Military action in Syria was not explicitly authorized by any UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution. Australia was one of the Nineteen nations’ coalition, that attacked a small country Libya, of 6.6 million people, and carried out military operations for seven months to eventually force a change of regime.

26-Apr       Anzac Day (in lieu)     Regional Holiday

If Anzac Day falls on a weekend in Australia, it is generally not moved to a weekday; only ACT and Western Australia observe a public holiday in lieu of the following Monday.

How is Anzac Day in Australia celebrated?

Commemorative services are held at sunrise, the time of the original landing. During the remainder of the day, ex-servicemen and women meet and join in marches through the main cities and towns. Commemorative ceremonies are held at war memorials around the country. It is a day when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.

During Anzac Day, restricted trading hours will vary by States, but retailers are usually allowed to open once the Anzac Day services have finished at 1pm. The trading restrictions generally only apply to large shops, which means that cafes, convenience stores, petrol stations, pharmacists, florists and even pet shops can open their doors.

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