I'm so behind on updates, but way back in April me and Fionn got to celebrate Anzac Day with the Aussie and Kiwi soldiers stationed here. They're here on a kind of exchange program that allows the US and its allies to work together and learn from each other-which includes sharing national holidays!
Anzac Day is a day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders to honor those who died in conflicts, wars, and peacekeeping missions. It first began to honor the soldiers who lost their lives in the WWI battle of Gallipoli, but has since grown to recognize soldiers from other conflicts as well. These days it is celebrated by commemorative services and patriotic rallies.
The day began with a somber dawn service to remember the fallen. I wasn't able to attend, but Fionn said it was very touching. I made him a felt poppy to wear on his uniform. After World War I, many people began wearing poppies as a sign of rembrance for those killed. They're still used today in many places around the world. Since I studied WWI extensively in college, it felt right to wear one for Anzac Day.
After the memorial service, the local Australian and NZ community opened up their homes for a big party. They challenged the American soldiers to a game of cricket, and soon there was a spirited game going on.
While the guys played cricket, the ladies sat in the shade with the kids, talking and laughing. A friend of mine made Anzac Day Biscuits, tasty coconut cookies that women sent to their Anzac soldiers during the first world war because they could survive the long journey. If you'd like to make your own, try Kiwi and Peach's Anzac Biscuit recipe.
After the game, every returned to the house for food, drinks, and conversation. I stayed a few hours, but apparently the party stretched long into the night.
It was a fun opportunity to celebrate with new Australian and New Zealander friends. Have you ever participated in Anzac Day?