For the first time since I've been here, there was an early morning Anzac Day service in Shanghai. The last couple of years have been on weekends, so lucky lazy expats have been able to sleep in a little. This beautiful Monday morning had Kiwis and Aussies gathering at the Australian Consul General's house from around 5:30 (I know, I was there). The service was lovely, with the stand out speech being from Turkish Consul General Deniz Eke. There was a dramatic moment right at the end of the Last Post, when a boy just in front of me fainted on the lawn. His parents took care of him while the rest of us stood mutely for the minute of silence. He seemed to recover pretty well, though. The only incongruous part for me was a jazzed-up recording of the NZ national anthem with the overly-dramatic singer from last year. Admittedly, we Kiwis need a bit of help from a lead singer, but hopefully next year they'll get a vocalist to go along with the instrumentals for both anthems. The follow-up breakfast care of Wagas, Baker and Spice, and Nick's Meats was exactly what was needed. After a chat with friends and a promise to be at the barbecue at Kakadu tonight, I took an extra coffee and a mini lamington for the road.
I'll finish with the words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which make me have to blink back tears every time I hear them. They remind me of Çanakkale, being in Turkey for their celebration of victory (and our defeat), and of how proud I am to be a New Zealander, wherever I am in the world.
"Heroes who 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 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."
Lest we forget.