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Excerpts from my travel diary, April 2013.

It is from this solemn site the great General Kemal, later known as Ataturk, led the Turks against the Allies and became the founding father of modern Turkey. I stood in front of his gracious words set in stone near Anzac Cove. I had read his impassioned plea many times, but standing on soil soaked with the blood of our youth, took my emotions to another level.

"You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here 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 have become our sons as well.”

Mustafa Kemal Atatürksoil

… we were soon on the ferry, powering our way to Canakkale.

On the ferry, I looked back at the words emblazoned on the hillside that greet every traveller to that sacred sight:

Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground

You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;

Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound

Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.

… and remembered the final injunction of the Master of Ceremonies of the Lone Pine service, "to walk softly" ... and we did.


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