“Today, 25 April, the ANZAC spirit was alive in Chiang Mai”
An ANZAC dawn memorial service was held at the House of Praise International Church in Chiang Mai with the Anzac tradition—the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship still felt and relevant today.
A number of quests, maybe about 80+, gathered in the early morning light of a perfect Chiang Mai morning for the 6 am service in the forecourt area of the church. (It is located at 78 Teparack Road, Chiang Mai – soi beside the Grandview Hotel off the superhighway). It was so nice to see many of those attending displaying their own or family medals. The Church has been holding this event for over 10 years and plan on holding it again next year.
Thanks to Rev Jonathan Vickers for leading the order of service today and his team for their efforts to once again host this Anzac Day event for Northern Thailand. As you can see from the order of service after some introduction and background on ANZAC Day history the gathered crowd sang the recessional hymn followed by a prayer and address by Rev. Johathan. Guests were then invited to come forward for the laying of the wreaths. It was an honor for me to be the official Australian representative and lay a wreath on behalf of the Australian Consulate for northern Thailand. Wreaths were also lay’d by a representative of the Church, American Services Corps along with children’s wreaths from the church school.
The gathered then participated in the recital – For the Fallen:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not wary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.
The crowd listened attentively as the last post was sounded and then reflected during the minutes silence. This was followed by “the Reveille” and national anthems of Australia and New Zealand. The crowds best early morning voices could be heard resounding over the quiet streets.
It was then time for a great, informal Aussie BBQ breakfast and time to socialise with those in attendance. Bangers and onions on slice of bread, timtams, anzac biscuits and home made ginger beer were on offer. It was a great way to honor the day. I also should mention and thank Steve from CityLife who was kind enough to attend and capture the event in pictures.
A brief history to the background of Anzac Day and Dawn Service is mentioned below for more background. Should you like to know about this event or the plans for next year please contact the Church on 053 212 904 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Here is their website: www.cochouseofpraise.com
Anzac Day history
I wish to thank the Department of Veterans Affairs, Australia for the following information from THEIR WEBSITE:
The Anzac tradition—the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship that are still relevant today—was established on 25 April 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was the start of a campaign that lasted eight months and resulted in some 25,000 Australian casualties, including 8,700 who were killed or died of wounds or disease. The men who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula created a legend, adding the word ‘Anzac’ to our vocabulary and creating the notion of the Anzac spirit.
In 1916, the first anniversary of the landing was observed in Australia, New Zealand and England and by troops in Egypt. That year, 25 April was officially named ‘Anzac Day’ by the Acting Prime Minister, George Pearce. By the 1920s, Anzac Day ceremonies were held throughout Australia. All States had designated Anzac Day as a public holiday. In the 1940s, Second World War veterans joined parades around the country. In the ensuing decades, returned servicemen and women from the conflicts in Korea, Malaya, Indonesia, Vietnam and Iraq, veterans from allied countries and peacekeepers joined the parades.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the number of people attending the ceremonies fell as Australians questioned the relevance of Anzac Day. However, in the 1990s there was a resurgence of interest in Anzac Day, with attendances, particularly by young people, increasing across Australia and with many making the pilgrimage to the Gallipoli Peninsula to attend the Dawn Service.
The Dawn Service
The following text is from the Australian War Memorial website:
The Dawn Service observed on Anzac Day has its origins in an operational routine which is still observed by the Australian Army today. The half-light of dawn plays tricks with soldiers’ eyes and from the earliest times the half-hour or so before dawn, with all its grey, misty shadows, became one of the most favored times for an attack.
Soldiers in defensive positions were therefore woken up in the dark, before dawn, so that by the time the first dull grey light crept across the battlefield they were awake, alert and manning their weapons. This was, and still is, known as “Stand-to”. It was also repeated at sunset.
After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn. With symbolic links to the dawn landing at Gallipoli, a dawn stand-to or dawn ceremony became a common form of Anzac Day remembrance during the 1920s; the first official Dawn Service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1927. Dawn services were originally very simple and followed the operational ritual; in many cases they were restricted to veterans only.
The daytime ceremony was for families and other well-wishers, the Dawn Service was for old soldiers to remember and reflect among the comrades with whom they shared a special bond. Before dawn the gathered veterans would be ordered to “stand to” and two minutes of silence would follow. At the end of this time a lone bugler would play the “Last Post” and then concluded the service with “Reveille”.
In more recent times families and young people have been encouraged to take part in dawn services, and services in Australian capital cities have seen some of the largest turnouts ever. Reflecting this change, the ceremonies have become more elaborate, incorporating hymns, readings, pipers and rifle volleys. Others, though, have retained the simple format of the dawn stand-to, familiar to so many soldiers.
Honoring this tradition in Northern Thailand
It’s so wonderful that this long standing tradition was honored here in Chiang Mai today by those living or visiting here in Northern Thailand along with other services that were held in Kanchanaburi and Phuket. I expect this event next year will continue to be a well attended.