Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, renders honors after laying a wreath during an Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, April 25. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian M. Wilbur/Released)

PEARL HARBOR - U.S. Pacific leaders gathered to commemorate Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific April 25.

ANZAC Day was established in 1916 to celebrate the soldiers that gave their lives on the front line of the battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey, the first major military action fought by the two countries in World War I. Throughout the years, ANZAC Day has since become a commemoration for all military members that have lost their lives during military and peacekeeping operations and is celebrated every year around the world on April 25.

During the ceremony, guest speakers shared stories and talked about the history of ANZAC Day and how it has changed over the years.

“It is on this day that we acknowledge the women and the men of today’s armed forces who put themselves at risk in the world’s conflict zones furthering our nations commitment to international peace, security and cooperation,” said Karena Lyons, New Zealand's consul-general in Hawaii. “Today we pause and give thanks to them for their service and their sacrifice.”

Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet and others participated in a wreath laying ceremony followed by rendering honors as a way to show appreciation for Australia and New Zealand’s Army Corps.

“I look forward to participating in the ANZAC Day commemoration every year,” said Swift. “Australia and New Zealand have such a deep connection through the proud heritage that they share that is truly amazing to see on display during events like these.”

Adm. Swift went on to talk about the importance of strengthening our relationships with partner countries and how showing our support on ANZAC Day is a key piece in expanding our ever- growing friendships with Australia and New Zealand.

Following the wreath laying ceremony, the Polynesian Cultural Center performed the Haka, a traditional war cry dance from the Maori people of New Zealand, and Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short, vice chief of New Zealand Defence Force delivered a commemorative address.