South Florida

South Florida honors ANZAC dead

About 100 people including diplomatic representatives of Australia, Britain, Germany and Turkey gathered Saturday for a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of ANZAC Day – the day Australian and New Zealand troops hit the beaches of Gallipoli in World War I.

South Floridians offered prayer and sang “Waltzing Matilda,” Australia’s unofficial anthem, in the brief ceremony at the site of the future Miami Military Museum and Memorial, near Zoo Miami. A U.S. Coast Guard Reserve team played bagpipes.

“So many lives were cut short,” said the German Consul General to South Florida, Juergen T. Borsch, in the ceremony that brought representatives of both sides of the conflict to the morning ceremony, including an Australian naval officer on temporary assignment in South Florida.

Turkey’s Consul General Özgür K. Altan read a passage from his nation’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who commanded troops defending Gallipoli.

Coral Gables attorney Don Slesnick, Australia’s Honorary Consul General, explained to an international gathering that included U.S. war veterans that the day marks the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on Gallipoli – the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. There, they met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders.

Follow @CarolRosenberg on Twitter