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Miles on ANZAC Day: Shared sense of loss built enduring ties between former foes.

NNA - Over 120 senior government officials, officers from the Lebanese armed forces and security services, ambassadors, UN personnel and civilians gathered before dawn today at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Qasqas, to mark the 101st anniversary of ANZAC Day. In a press release by the Australian Embassy in Beirut, it said: "ANZAC Day commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) troops on the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915. In all, over 8,000 Australians and almost 3,000 New Zealand soldiers lost their lives in the campaign, and a further 25,000 were wounded." Delivering the commemorative address, the Australian Ambassador Agr'', Glenn Miles, focused on themes of loss and reconciliation. To personalise the terrible destruction of the campaign, Ambassador Miles focussed on the story of one young soldier whose grave the Ambassador walked past a decade ago near Gallipoli: the grave was that of Private James Martin, an Australian soldier with a New Zealand father. Martin died of typhoid aboard a medical vessel, after surviving torpedo attack on the transport ship carrying him, and going on to fight in the trenches of Gallipoli. "The fact is, Jim Martin was only 14 years of age. He was our youngest ANZAC - the same age as some of the children attending this service today." Like many, Martin had lied about his age in order to join up. Ambassador Miles said that such human tragedies were suffered on all sides of the conflict, and this shared sense of loss has built enduring ties between former foes. "I share the story of Mr Martin with our Turkish friends, whose sons lie also in the shallow graves that mark the hills of Gallipoli, because unique amongst conflicts, ANZAC Day allows us to share with Turkey a deep and long-lasting mutual respect - a friendship borne out of the shared horror of the trenches." Echoing that sentiment, Turkish Ambassador, Cagatay Erciyes, quoted President Mustafa Kemal Atat'rk's tribute to the ANZACs killed 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. Ambassador Miles also said it was timely to remember the Lebanese Armed Forces and security services personnel currently working to safeguard Lebanon's borders: "We remember those who have lost their lives in the border region, and we pray for the safe return of those who remain hostage." ===================== L.Y

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Publication:National News Agency Lebanon (NNA)
Date:Apr 25, 2016
Words:417
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