April 25, 2020, will mark the 105th anniversary of the first time young men from Australia and New Zealand stepped into harm’s way for King and Country. Though the nation was only 13 years old at the outbreak of World War One, young Australian men and those from neighbouring New Zealand proudly joined troops from the rest of the commonwealth and entered the fray.
Perhaps of more lasting importance, they established the ‘ANZAC legion’ of tenacity in battle and a fighting prowess so great that even their enemies honoured them. Beyond this, their sacrifices earned their nation the respect of the international community that it had been denied up to this point. It is a widely held belief that the Australian national identity for resilience and adaptability was forged in the fires of those long-ago battles fought by the original ANZAC Troops.
To honour the sacrifices that they and the over 102,000 who have followed in their boot prints made, we have traditionally gathered for a Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial and other sites across the country and around the world. This year will be different.
For the first time in the over 100-year history of ANZAC Day, no events will be open to the public. All are encouraged however to celebrate this Remembrance Day in a meaningful way.
Some suggested activities are:
- Join in Light Up the Dawn, RSL Australia’s campaign to have everyone stand on their balconies or in their driveways at first light while listening to The Ode and The Last Post played on the radio. Followed by a moment of silence.
- Watch the televised service from the Australian War Memorial as a family. It is scheduled to be broadcast at 5:30 am.
- Take a virtual tour of some of the sites at which ANZAC troops have died. Gallipoli sites of World War I can be visited on the Anzac Walk podcast. Other sites can be visited via free apps at ANZAC 360 app in App Store, ANZAC 360 app in Google Play.
- Check on family and friends who are former service members. This is their day and they may be feeling especially low and isolated.
The ANZAC spirit is not shared only by those who have served our country in uniform. A small part of it resides in all of our hearts. Let us demonstrate it this year by continuing to honour those who have gone before us as they so richly deserve.