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Thousands honour the fallen at Gallipoli

15:42 Wed Apr 25 2012
Colonel Paul Curry looks on while the New Zealand flag flies during the ANZAC day service this morning (Getty)
Colonel Paul Curry looks on while the New Zealand flag flies during the ANZAC day service this morning (Getty)

Ninety-seven years after New Zealand and Australian forces landed at Gallipoli, some 6000 people - mostly Australian and New Zealand visitors - have attended a dawn service at Anzac Cove.

On a clear, still morning, Veterans Affairs Minister Nathan Guy told the crowd the land where they stood was sacred to New Zealanders.

"As the resting place of so many of our war dead Gallipoli has become one such sacrosanct place for all New Zealanders," he said.

Of 8556 New Zealanders who landed at Anzac Cove, 2721 were killed.

Mr Guy said the battles at Gallipoli and on the Western Front left no community untouched in the country.

"Memorials still stand in every town, every corner of the land, with the long list of names etched on them as a testimony to the deep scars of war on early New Zealand society left by this bloody conflict."

Paying tribute to the 8700 Australians killed during the Gallipoli campaign, Australian Prime Minister said the place was "hallowed by sacrifice and loss".

She said some two-thirds of the 130,000 fatalities during the campaign were Turkish, but there was no lasting animosity between opposing sides.

"The Turkish honoured our fallen and embraced them as their own sons," she said.

"And later they did something rare in the pages of history - they named this place in honour of the vanquished as Anzac Cove.

"We therefore owe the Republic of Turkey a profound debt. No nation could have better guarded our shrines or more generously welcomed our pilgrims."