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Speech in Senate Chamber: Anzac Day

Honourable senators, next Monday, April 25, is known as ANZAC day.  That day we in Canada and across the world will commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Great War’s famous Gallipoli Campaign, with its first landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula as part of the Çanakkale Battles. ANZAC day marks the remembrance of the Australians, New Zealanders, and Newfoundlanders, Canadian since 1949, and the soldiers of other nations who fought in Gallipoli. It is also the remembrance of the Turkish forces who fought and fell in defence of their homeland. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American regiment in the fierce Gallipoli campaign. On ANZAC day, let us remember the horrors of war and the noble sacrifices of all those who fought. The Great War was a grim reaper of young men’s lives. On ANZAC day we are called to pause and remember these losses. I shall read the words of a contemporary poet, Australia’s Rupert McCall:

There on the hill - that un-winnable hill

He is scared but by God, he's committed

There on the hill, so much young blood would spill . . .

In protecting their homeland, the Turks never budge

The high ground is theirs to defend

Death blows a breeze that puts ice in his knees

He prepares now to meet with his end


Colleagues, Mustafa Kemal was one of the great commanders of the Turkish forces in Gallipoli. On ANZAC day, let us reflect on his tribute to the Gallipoli fallen. His words were a call to peace, to turn the Great War’s tragedies into friendships among nations. I shall read his tribute to Gallipoli’s fallen, that has become a tribute for ANZAC day.  About the Gallipoli fallen he said:


Those 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 the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side 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 become our sons as well.