ANZAC Day is one of the most important days on our national calendar, and attending a service in my electorate every year has always been a staple in my diary. It is a significant commemoration where we demonstrate our respect and admiration for ANZACs past and present.
While we traditionally gather in large numbers; at its heart, Anzac Day is a moment of personal reflection where we demonstrate our solemn respect for those who have served, and those who continue to serve in our nation’s uniform.
This April 25th, while we cannot join together with friends and neighbours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage everyone in my electorate to continue this tradition.
The difficult decision to cancel traditional ANZAC Day services around the nation was made in the interests of public safety and the health and wellbeing of the community.
On ANZAC Day this year, the Australian War Memorial will televise a national dawn service on the ABC. This is an important opportunity for everyone to reflect on the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have fought and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations over a century of service.
I also encourage people to pause at 11.30am for a minute’s silence. This time corresponds with the landing of our troops at Gallipoli 105 years ago, and sends a clear message that despite the hardships we are facing, we continue to respect our servicemen and women.
While it may look different this year, ANZAC Day is not cancelled, and there are a range of ways we can all pay our respects and mark the day.
I acknowledge that ANZAC Day is a time where many Australians commemorate together with their family and friends, and while current health advice prevents us from doing this, we still have the power of social media and can use the hashtags #AnzacAtHome and #TYFYS to share pictures and videos of our private commemorations. I’m looking forward to watching stories and reading messages from my constituents online – we can really put together an ANZAC Day that will make our veterans proud.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has developed a range of resources to assist Australians to commemorate ANZAC Day which can be downloaded from the Anzac Portal at www.anzacportal.dva.gov.au.
You could also use this ANZAC Day to look into your family’s military history. The National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial websites are great places to start.
At a time when we are all at home and doing our part to minimise the spread of coronavirus, many may be feeling isolated and I encourage everyone to think about reaching out to someone they know who has served, whether by phone, email or even a letter.
It has been inspiring to see different ideas emerging about the ways we can pay our respects this ANZAC Day. Whether it’s a solitary driveway tribute, baking ANZAC biscuits, or a small ceremony with your household, I encourage everyone to pause, reflect and say a simple ‘thank you for your service’.
Lest we forget.