Friday, October 7, 2011

Gallipoli Food for Thought

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


From the Kitchen said...

I bow my head in respect for those too-young dead.


Gloria Baker said...

So sorry by these young lifes dear Mary! blessings, gloria

Pondside said...

Gallipoli, Mons, Ypres, Beaumont-Hamel, Vimy Ridge
So many young men from Canada, Australia and New Zealand who traveled far and died in a war for the old world - mostly commanded by old British military who had contempt for the 'colonials'. Heart breaking.

Chiara said...

too young to die....blessings..

Mickey said...

Love your food for thought today. It was heart breaking and heartfelt. I do have to say that I adore your writings - all of them.
Take care,

David said...

Mary, My Dad is buried in France. He was killed just a couple of days before the end of WWII in Europe. Those mass cemetaries are sad and overwhelming places. Travel Safely, Big Daddy Dave

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mary.

Schnitzel and the Trout said...

You wrote beautifully about this memorable place on earth. Safe travels.

Ginny Hartzler said...

Such a sad place!!!! Your writing does do justice to the solemnity and horror of this situation, I hope just a momentary pause in an otherwise happy vacation.

Julia said...

Beautiful post Mary. We have yet to make it up there to visit the trenches, cenotaphs and graves. Something we really ought to do very soon.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, Mary. This is so sad. I have so much respect for those who we've lost. xx

Anonymous said...

Yes many New Zealander died in gallipoli and every year veterans and their families travel there for commoration.We have a special cookie that we call Anzac cookie..and its made in honour of these soldiers.It seems their wives and mother made a btaches for them to take with them in the they can keep wel long.

That Girl said...

So sad

Red Nomad OZ said...

Gallipoli holds a special place in our hearts downunder. Too many lives cut short too soon - it's an unspeakable tragedy that destroyed a generation. Thanx for your commemoration.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Cannon fodder for old men to prosecute political wars. And how many of those who survived the Gallipoli landings went on to die on the Somme?

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