A letter from Gallipoli

This is something from my personal journal. I never thought of it leaving those pages, but I thought today was the right day to share it, being ANZAC Day here in Australia. I wrote this on 28th June 2017, while visiting the site of the Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey. The site where so many young men perished.

On today, ANZAC Day, lest we forget.

Sam's Greenwood Journal: 28/6/17

What an experience it was.

Something you learn about at school, read about and hear about from others, but nothing quite captures the raw emotion you feel when you visit the site itself, where so many young men lost their lives.

I'm not sure what emotion I felt most, maybe a mix of overwhelming sadness, pride and empathy.

Overwhelming sadness came from walking up and down the cemeteries and reading the headstones, thinking about who those young men were, what their families must have felt. To see them head off to war, kiss them goodbye and never see them again.

I thought a lot about their ages and what they could’ve accomplished in the lost years that got taken away from them, on the beaches, the hills and the trenches.

I thought a lot about the sets of brothers who would’ve gone to war together, enlisted together and probably died together. It makes me think about my relationship with my younger brother and best mate Ben. Had we been in that position, we would have done the exact same thing. 21 and 25 years old, heading overseas to see the world, an opportunity to fight for your country and meet new people, experience different cultures. But how wrong that thinking was.

It’s hard to say, but if we were born 100 years earlier to the day, then that could’ve been me lying in an unmarked grave, buried in the hillside beach of the landing, or maybe a bunker at Lone Pine. Would Ben by lying next to me, or would he have made it back to our parents? The latter I think.

It’s that thought pattern that makes me grateful for what we have right now. I’m sure any of those ANZACs or Turkish boys would do anything to swap lives. How easy we have it now.

Yes, it’s a different time, but the sacrifices they made 100 years ago could’ve been us, and how easily we forget and take what they did for granted.

Lest we forget,

On the bus from Gallipoli.