Row for Peace from NYC this ANZAC Day, 25 April 2015

Written by Kiri Milburn.

ANZAC Day is just around the corner. This year, April 25 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I.  Such an important milestone gives us extra food for thought about what Lest We Forget really means.  How can we ensure the sacrifices of our servicemen and women, in their commitment to our safety over the last 100 years, are not forgotten?

Turkish adventurer Erden Eruç, and his Australian crew members, are embarking on a unique Centenary Memorial Challenge in honor of this milestone.  The challenge involves rowing in a two man row boat from New York to the Gallipoli Peninsula and will commemorate the 100 year anniversary of ANZAC day, while raising awareness about the significant human cost of wars that still persist today.

Erden will be accompanied by two Australians, Kendon Glass and Mark Gasson, as he rows across the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, departing from New York in May 2015, and landing at the Gallipoli Peninsula sometime in April 2016.  The challenge seeks to emulate the journey taken by ANZAC troops on their way to the Gallipoli peninsula some 100 years ago. Glass and Gasson will take turns to join Erden in the row-boat at select locations along the route.  The two Australians chose to accompany him on this journey in recognition of the significance of the 25 April milestone to ANZAC countries.

New York to Morocco leg

New York to Morocco leg

Morocco to Gallipoli leg

Morocco to Gallipoli leg

Why embark on such a feat?  Apart from honoring the centenary of ANZAC day, Erden and his team conceived this challenge as a way to celebrate the mutual respect and friendship that exists today between the people of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, reflected in Ataturk’s famous words, inscribed at ANZAC cove:

“There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us, where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

Erden is no stranger to testing his physical and mental strength. He is an experienced seaman who completed the first solo circumnavigation of the world by human power in 2012. That expedition took him five years and 11 days, and included a 312 day long stint alone in his row boat as he crossed the Pacific Ocean.

Australians and New Zealanders commemorate ANZAC Day on 25 April to recognize the sacrifices of New Zealand and Australian servicemen and servicewomen – not only in defending their country but in upholding their nations’ firmly held commitment to peace and security. 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

How to Support Row for Peace

Donate to support the expedition at this Row for Peace CrowdRise page, or this Gallipoli Row Everyday Hero page raising funds for returned soldiers with PSTD.

If you can’t donate – help raise awareness by sharing this story and the fundraising links above with your friends and family.

New York Dawn Service Details

Date: Saturday, 25 April 2015
Time: 5.45am to 6.15am (guests arrive by 5.30am)
Location: Vietnam Veterans Plaza, 55 Water Street, New York City
Dress (military): Service dress or equivalent with medals
Dress (civilian): Respectful attire. Please come prepared in case of cold or inclement weather
RSVP: Not required for attendance

For more details on the ANZAC Day Commemorative Services to be held by the Australian and New Zealand Consuls-General in New York please see here.