Memorial Day and a Look at Gallipoli from the Air

May 25, 2015

If the above video doesn't run, view it at this link on YouTube.

It's weird for me to see poppies at this time of year, on people's collars. Veterans groups sell them. Today is Memorial Day in the U.S.

Growing up in Australia, poppies were reserved for Remembrance Day, November 11. One of us would be sent to ring the bell at 11 a.m. Everyone in the school would stand. We would have several minutes of silence, until the student ringing the bell rang it again.

I never really had a clear idea of what the terrain was like at Gallipoli. Peter Weir in his movie "Gallipoli" showed us the cliffs and the sea, but what I remember from that movie is the claustrophobic inevitability. I think that's a good way to think about war; it's what we should carry forward, so that we think long and hard about being in one.

In this short video a drone flies over the landscape at Gallipoli, including the trenches and grave sites. A hundred years later the landscape looks desolate and inhospitable.

The video also includes the sobering numbers of lives lost on both sides. A hundred years later it's still a lot to think about.

This has been a cold spring, at first dry, then very wet. Every year since I've been here, Dick's Grandmother's poppies have come up, sometimes squeaking in a the very last moment. Last year, the few we had came late. I wonder if any will even show up. But we don't need the symbols to jog our memory.

For some historic photographs from Gallipoli you can read this article (which also contains the drone footage). 

    • Carmel Campbell
    • May 25, 2015

    Roz, thank you for posting the video. I am Australian, living in the US now. We recently saw the Russell Crowe movie “the Water Diviner” set in time of Gallipoli . They were building the cemetery seen in this video in the movie. A heartbreaking war.

  1. Reply

    Carmel, I didn’t know about “the Water Diviner.” I will check it out. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Have you ever read Vera Brittain’s “Testament of Youth” (she wrote other books after that about her life, but that’s the most well-known). She was English. She served as a nurse in Europe during WWI. The social cost was really crushingly high there too. And until I saw the numbers in this short little video I didn’t know that the Irish were so heavily involved.

    • Julana
    • May 28, 2015

    My mother’s poppies bloomed a couple weeks ago. There is nothing like a happy poppy waving in the wind to sing “spring is here!” I had never connected them with Memorial Day.

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