Journal October 5th.....
It is deadly still here. The silence is broken only by bird songs and the waves that lap against these once bloody shores. There are better than a hundred of us on this beach head and all of us are silent. Bob and I have crossed the Dardanelles and are in Gallipoli at a place called Seddulbahir which is the final resting place of ANZAC forces who tried to land here in 1916. Those of us who love words and understand their power suddenly have none. As you walk the rows of well kept graves the headstones tell the story of what happened here. These boys, fighting for a king and country they had never seen, were canon fodder on a beach whose cliffs could not be scaled. James McElroy age 18. Thomas Shoemaker age 19. Johnny McBride age 17. The oldest in this cemetery is 32. The old lie...Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori...was repeated on this beachhead and young men again died in a war not of their making. Before this eight month battle ended 552,000 young men would lose their lives and leave wives and mothers to grieve their loss. Half were Aussies and New Zealanders. The other half were Turkish. Mustafa Ataturk, who would become the leader of the new Turkish nation, left this memorial for all who died at Gallipoli.
"Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well."
Take care and stay well. Blessings......Mary