Emma traces footsteps of diggers

Emma McCulloch, Safety Bay Senior High School, Published in the SOUND TELEGRAPHSound Telegraph

On April 16, I boarded a plane to begin a once-in-a-lifetime history tour in Turkey, where I - along with 31 students and eight staff - would ultimately be standing at Anzac Cove for the dawn service to commemorate the sacrifice and bravery of the Anzac soldiers who landed there 100 years ago.

Throughout our stay in Turkey, we visited as many commemorative and cultural sites as we could, including Shell Green Cemetery, Lone Pine and the Blue Mosque to broaden our knowledge and understanding of the Anzac legacy and experience the beautiful culture of Turkey.

We spent our first four days on the Gallipoli Peninsula exploring the tracks the Anzacs walked.

Many of us found what we were seeing quite confronting.

I, for one, found our day visiting Shell Green Cemetery extremely emotional, because that was the day that allowed me to visualise just how many soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and how many stories are still left untold.

We spent the next three days exploring old Istanbul and learning about the culture of the Turkish people. My most significant experience was on April 25 as I stood in the early morning light, just as the Anzac soldiers did, but for quite a different reason.

On that day, 100 years on, I was able to pay my respects and commemorate the many men and women who died for Australia and New Zealand.

This experience has taught me more about the history of the Anzac legacy than any number of textbooks or documentaries ever could.

I would encourage any student who is interested in learning about history, culture and sharing an unforgettable experience with other students to apply for selection in the Premier's Anzac Student Tour.

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