ANZAC DAY in East Timor
Dawn service at the base
Just as we get into our standing positions (with a good view of the microphone, rows of troops and the flag poles) the service begins. You can’t help but feel a little insignificant as the troops are ordered to “stand to” and we follow suit for the two minutes’ of silence, but then again, that’s part of the reason why we are here.
The wreaths are laid and speeches are given before it’s time to sing the anthems. The Australian and New Zealand renditions do not compare to the lone Turkish man (the best kebab maker in town) belting out the words to the Turkish anthem.
As the sky breaks with the light of the sun rising, I think to myself 'I'm going to get up early every day so I can see such a beautiful natural sight', but I'm ashamed to say, it’s already been another year and this Wednesday (ANZAC Day) will be the first time I've done it again.
2012 Anzac Day Dawn Service in Dili, East Timor
Time: 5:30am sharp and concluding at 6:30am
Location: HPOD (Bairo Pite) behind the Presidential Palace
Don’t forget: your ID, camera and your best singing voice
Other things to do
Make a trip up to the Dare Memorial: Cafe and Museum
Walk, ride or drive up to the Dare Memorial and enjoy the panoramic views of Dili. The site is a memorial to the Australian and East Timorese's who fought together against the Japanese occupation of East Timor during World War II.
“In February 1942, responding to the arrival of Allied troops in Timor, Japanese troops landed in Dili and Kupang. For over a year, two Australian Companies fought a guerrilla war against the occupying Japanese troops, with the support of the Timorese population and some Portuguese colonial officials. Until the end of World War Two, in August 1945, the Japanese controlled the island of Timor, and the Timorese suffered terrible reprisals for helping the enemy. An estimated 40.000 to 50.000 Timorese lost their lives during this period.” Secretário de Estado da Cultura
The café is usually only open on the weekends, but on ANZAC Day, you might be lucky. Whether the café is open or not you can still view the small photographic exhibition and the short five minute DVD. The DVD is a must and I can guarantee you’ll be hard pressed not to shed a few tears by the end of it.
Watch some sport and raise your glass
ANZAC Day in East Timor is a day you will surely remember!
Thanks to the Australian Department of Defence for giving us permission to use their striking photographs for this blog post. You can view more of their images from ANZAC Day in East Timor, 2010 here.
The older images, postcards and beer coaster, were taken from my Mum's amazing collection. She's got a wonderful little blog of her own called, 'Old Postcard Messages' so you can see more of her treasures there.