AUSTRALIANS commemorate ANZAC Day on April 25 every year.
It commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, which was officially named ANZAC Day in 1916.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
In 1917, the word ANZAC meant someone who fought at Gallipoli and later it came to mean any Australian or New Zealander who fought or served in the First World War.
During the Second World War, ANZAC Day became a day on which the lives of all Australians lost in war time were remembered. The spirit of ANZAC recognises the qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice which were demonstrated at the Gallipoli landing.
As part of the larger Imperial Force, the ANZACs were brought in from training in Egypt to participate in the Gallipoli landings.
Unlike the European armies of the period, the Australian Imperial Force was formed from volunteers. Most of the volunteers came heeding duty's call. Others looked for excitement or were escaping drought conditions at home.
Fighting on Gallipoli soon settled into a stalemate which ended in the evacuation of the ANZACs on December 20, 1915. By then, 8,141 had been killed or died of wounds and more than 18,000 had been wounded.
Commemorative services are held every year at dawn on April 25, the time of the original landing, across the nation and usually at war memorials.
This was initiated by returned soldiers after the First World War in the 1920s as a common form of remembrance. The first official dawn service was held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1927, which was also the first year that all States recognised a public holiday on the day.
Initially dawn services were only attended by veterans who followed the ritual of 'standing to' before two minutes of silence was observed, broken by the sound of a lone piper playing the 'Last Post'. Later in the day, there were marches in all the major cities and many smaller towns for families and other well wishers.
Today it is a day when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war, with gatherings held at war memorials across the country.