Today Australians and New Zealanders around the world honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC). In 1915 the Allied forces set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula, in the hopes that taking control of Constantinople would knock the Ottoman empire out of the war early. Unfortunately they didn't manage to take Constantinople and spent months campaigning before pulling out at the end of the year. Both sides suffered heavy losses with approximately 11,500 Australian & New Zealand soldiers losing their lives. Despite the ultimate failure of the campaign, the ANZAC troops showed true "ANZAC spirit": endurance, courage, good humour, larrikinism and mateship. These qualities have come to symbolise the "Australian national character" and the values we should embrace.
In the years that followed, ANZAC Day came to honour the sacrifice of all soldiers who have fallen in action, and the soldiers who continue to protect us by fighting for our freedom and upholding peace.
I'm sure that most quilting bloggers have heard of Quilts of Valor, where quilts are made for Armed service members who have been touched by war. Quilts of Valor has branches in the US, Canada and the UK.
I recently discovered that there is an Australian equivalent: Aussie Hero Quilts. Aussie Hero Quilts sends quilts and laundry bags to members of the Australian armed forces (Army, Navy & Airforce) who are stationed in Afghanistan. The quilts are sent twice a year, in time for ANZAC Day and Christmas. They are always looking for volunteers to make quilts/laundry bags, or donate fabric/batting. They even have a Block of the Month (BOM) group for anyone who wants to participate but is time poor. Given that it's ANZAC Day already, the next batch won't be sent until November so there is plenty of time to put something together!
I think we've all been touched by war in some way, shape or form. It may not be someone in our immediate family, but often we don't have to look far. My mother's father was in the Italian Navy in WWII. My uncle was in the American Navy. One of my cousins has just joined the Australian Navy. My sister's best friend is in the Navy. A girlfriend's husband is in the Navy. Another girlfriend and her husband used to be in the Navy, and her brother is currently serving in Afghanistan. My mother-in-law's uncle was killed in action during WWII. And the list goes on.
"Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the 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."
So how do you win?
Firstly, you must be a follower. You do not get an entry for this though.
1. Leave me a comment letting me know if any of your family, friends or loved ones are serving/have served in the armed forces.
2. Please check out Aussie Hero Quilts, (or Quilts of Valor if you're not an Aussie!). If you are a follower of either of these blogs, leave me a comment.
3. Follow me on Facebook and leave a comment (here).
4. Tweet, blog or facebook about the giveaway and then leave me a comment with a link.
Two lucky winners will win a pair of fat quarters. The winner will be drawn via random number generator on the evening of Friday 4th May. International entries are welcome.
If you are a "No Reply" blogger (or don't know what that is!) please make sure that you leave me an email address in your comment so that I can get in touch with you!