April 25 is ANZAC Day, a day set aside in Australia and New Zealand to honor those who served in the militaries of both countries, and especially those who died in war. The men of Australia and New Zealand answered the call, first of England, then all free peoples, in the Boer War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and many other conflicts. We in the US don’t always think of Australia and New Zealand as having a military presence, because we don’t see them, but ask the people of East Timor and other places. You’ll learn a lot.
We don’t have ANZAC cookies, only because we want to buy them a little late. They’ll be on sale later.
There was threats of terrorist attacks, unsurprisingly, and that was dealt with. It was quiet otherwise, for which I’m grateful. While Gallipoli was the start of the memorial, ANZAC stands for all Australian and New Zealand soldiers, in all the battles and wars they are involved in.
I gave Rhys a book on Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, and it’s quite detailed and thick. It was a lucky find. I paged through it a bit, and by sheer … luck… came on a story about Operation Baby Lift, where volunteer workers tried to save 200 Eurasian and Amerasian orphans – either abandoned or because their parents had died, many of them babies – on a C5A Galaxy. There was hatch trouble right after takeoff, and the plane was forced to attempt landing. As it approached the airstrip, an explosion blew off the bottom ramp and the decompression sucked out dozens of children from the hole. Most of the children died, as well as crew and aid workers.
The next flight held mostly abandoned babies, rescued from the rubbish dumps and streets and fields by their mothers. They were crammed as many as possible into the plane, some in only cardboard boxes, and was only one of the only two RAAF Baby Lift planes that left that day. There weren’t many more after that, as rescuing the abandoned Children of the Dust, as such children were known, was being called an ‘American plot’ and ‘seen as selfishness, and not humanitarianism.’
I hate that one psycho and his squad characterized all soldiers – all of them – from the Vietnam War, and stained the view of soldiers onward.
I’m told that for a long time, even though Australian soldiers had nothing to do with My Lai, they were blamed for it when they came home.
Australian soldiers also played a major role in the North Africa fighting during WW2 – I’m told that the British generals had a nasty habit of throwing Aussie infantry against Rommel’s tanks. And IIRC, the majority of “Dugout Doug” MacArthur’s troops in the Southwest Pacific campaigns were also Aussies. As were a number of the warships in Seventh Fleet, MacArthur’s naval force.
Reminds me that I want to bake ANZAC biscuits today. They’ll keep for a long time.
The Axis troops dreaded to face Gen. Freyburg’s over-armed and ferocious Kiwis, almost as much as facing the Gurkhas.
God bless and keep all the lads, who sailed or flew north at the call of monarch and nation.
Good folks all. And they DO honor their military in both countries, unlike how American military has been treated… sigh