DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia – The day is April 25th, 1915. Australian Soldiers climb into patrol boats and head towards a small peninsula on the coast of Turkey, not knowing their actions that day would earn them the title “Knights of Galipoli.”
Eleven of the Australian and New Zealand Soldiers that participated in the fighting that day earned the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration awarded for valor in the face of the enemy. More than 10,000 Australian and New Zealand troops lost their lives throughout the Gallipoli Campaign.
More than 90 years later, the people of Darwin, Australia, gather during a Dawn Service to honor ANZAC day, and commemorate those who gave their lives in defense of their country.
“It’s really an honor to come out and see how the people here honor their fallen,” said Capt. Joshua Schatz, operations officer, Aviation Combat Element, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin. “Listening to everyone talk so highly about the Soldiers that gave up everything for their country is a humbling experience.”
Marines with MRF-D participated in Dawn Service with members of 1st Brigade, Australian Army, and then marched in parades in the cities of Palmerston and Darwin.
“The ceremony here is very similar to the ones back home,” said Lt. Col. Keven Matthews, commanding officer, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin. “It’s always important to take time to remember those who fought for their country.”
During the parades, Marines joined every Australian branch of service in formation and proudly marched as crowds of spectators gave a round of applause in their honor.
“We had a really warm welcome by the people of Darwin,” said Schatz, a native of New England, N.D. “Everyone loved seeing the Marines out in uniform.”
MRF-D Marines expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to join their allies in the ANZAC day ceremonies, appreciative that they were allowed to stand next to the Australians on one of their most important days.
“We are deeply grateful to the people of Darwin and the Australian Defence Force for allowing us to be here,” said Matthews. “It’s been an honor to be able to participate in ANZAC day.”
As the ceremonies came to a close, silence fell over the monument dedicated to the fallen soldiers, etched with the saying “Lest we forget.”