Today I had an opportunity to witness and experience a slice of Anzac Day. What is Anzac Day? To be honest, I have never heard of Anzac Day until it was introduced in my classroom. As some of you know, I am in New Zealand as a student teacher and with that, I am able to learn a lot of things through the students and curriculum. I have learned so much about Anzac Day.
I learned about Anzac Day being a holiday remembering soldiers from WWI. I learned that Anzac stands for: Australian New Zealand Army Corps. I learned about how many men were drafted and many women stayed and worked. I learned that even when you weren’t at war, you were still supporting the war through some type of job, whether it be a healthcare provider, sewing clothing, making bullets, etc. I learned that there were many brave animals in the war that helped protect and serve the soldiers. I learned that the poppy is significant because of how they grew in Flanders Fields. I learned that many students had families serve in the war. I learned that there are special ceremonies for Anzac Day, such as the Dawn Parade and Minute of Silence. I learned that there are Anzac cookies / biscuits. I learned that 7-year-olds can learn about this serious day and respect it. I learned a lot.
What I didn’t expect to learn was how it affected me. I don’t recall any family members coming from New Zealand or Australia. I’m not even from New Zealand or Australia. Why does it matter to me? Sure, there is Memorial Day in the United States, but to be honest, I didn’t put much thought into it. Was it ignorance? Busyness? I do respect those who serve–heck, most of my family come from military. But I would acknowledge and then carry on. I don’t think I really understood. Studying Anzac Day so intensively made me think of nothing else but Anzac Day. That’s when I started to see, realize, and genuinely care. I started to care because people are people. It doesn’t matter where you are from. I’m just surprised it took me going to another country and experiencing it through another lens to realize patriotism, service, and war.
This morning, I was planning on going to the Dawn Parade (starting at 6:00 am!!!) but I had been misinformed from transportation services on when and where the buses were arriving. Being a public holiday, I couldn’t call for information the morning of so I was SOL. I took a nap in frustration (best way to release stress I must say) and then decided to go to the 10:30 am service in Auckland. Even though I missed out on the Dawn Parade, I did get a chance to honor the brave soldiers. I felt really good about that. Here are some more pictures of the service:
I’m glad I learned so much about Anzac Day and about myself. Who would’ve known! If you would like to learn more about Anzac Day, check out this link:
Or if you would like to hear a kid version, more specifically of Flanders Fields, check out this link:
To end this post, here’s a picture of the poppy I received today and a conversation starting with me:
“Well, opium is made from poppies…”
“Oh..I see why they don’t sell them.”
Have a great rest of the weekend! Cheers!