Thousands gather for emotional dawn ANZAC service at Gallipoli

An emotional dawn service has just concluded at Gallipoli, with thousands gathering on the shores New Zealand's soldiers fought so courageously in 1915.

It was the biggest crowd to camp at the peninsula since the centenary celebrations - evidence that time is doing little to diminish the ANZAC spirit.

When the Australians and New Zealanders arrived at Gallipoli in 2023, they were armed with sleeping bags, not guns, led by knowledge rather than blind bravery, and they carry with them the weight of loss - not the hope of victory. 

Lying on the whenua where our men fell, there was little sleep before a dawn so significant.

When morning finally broke, the ANZACs were remembered in an unforgettable fashion. 

One hundred and eight years on, words help to keep the legacy of our soldiers alive and the silence locks it in our hearts. 

It was an eight-month campaign of courage with young soldiers enduring heat, dehydration, illness and hopelessness.

A near-impossible mission cost close to 3000 New Zealand futures and defined our nation’s history. 

COVID-19 dealt a major blow to ANZAC commemorations in recent years but Gallipoli is finally back to full hosting duties. Kiwis and Australians have flocked to the peninsula and the ANZAC spirit was alive and well.

Shanon Benteriman was the talk of the campsite with her ANZAC hack, turning the remnants of her box wine, brought from Australia, into a pillow.

The campsite laughter spoke to the camaraderie, part of what makes this pilgrimage all that it is but the smiles always give way to solemnity 

Because no matter how many times you've heard it before when the Last Post echoes across the Cove it sounds intangibly different. 

Underscored by a melody of memory and the knowledge of the sacrifice made on these very shores.