New Zealand film Director Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame and currently working on production of The Hobbit, Part I, tells on his Facebook page today of a visit he made to Turkey in 1990 for the 75th anniversary commemoration of ANZAC Day. The Australian government had made a rare gesture, flying dozens of World War I veterans, along with a personal nurse for each and numerous family members to the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Every Australian and New Zealander knows the significance of April 25, now an annual observance: the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on that Turkish strip of land for an ill-fated mission. Their objective, along with thousands of British, French and Indian troops, was to capture Istanbul, thereby opening up the passage to the Black Sea for Allied troops and knocking the Ottoman Empire out of the war. Upon landing, the ANZAC soldiers were met with fierce resistance, and what was intended to be a decisive battle turned into an 8-month stalemate with the Allied troops trapped. So it is not a victory that Aussies and Kiwis celebrate, but the sacrifice at Gallipoli has come to symbolize all those from those two countries who have paid the ultimate price in time of war. One of those was Peter Jackson's grandfather, William John Jackson, whom he never knew.