AUSTRALIANS are encouraged to honour the service and sacrifice of veterans and serving defence personnel on ANZAC Day from home this year by watching the nationally broadcast dawn service and participating in the RSL’s #lightupthedawn campaign.
To honour Anzac Day on Saturday April 25, Australians are asked to stand at the end of their driveways, verandahs or balconies for a minute’s silence at 6am, after public events were cancelled across the nation.
Meanwhile in the lead up to ANZAC Day, Wollongong City Council staff have been mowing lawns and carrying out essential maintenance around war memorials.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the council has a schedule of works throughout the year that ensure memorials and their surrounds are well-maintained.
“This includes an increased focus in the lead up to Anzac and Remembrance Days,” he said.
“This year, due to coronavirus, it will be a different day of reflection. However, we still believe it’s essential these memorials look their best. War memorials are important year-round as a place to reflect and to remember.
“We know these are valued spaces for all in our community and that’s why we have an ongoing works schedule but also look to upgrade the memorials where it’s appropriate. Austinmer, for example, had its beachside memorial upgraded in time for last year’s Anzac Day. Now it’s a more sympathetic and attractive space for reflection.”
Cr Bradbery encouraged all community members to stay at home and acknowledge and reflect on the resilience and fortitude demonstrated in Gallipoli during World War I and other areas of conflict.
“I see many people in our City showing their strength and character during this global health crisis,” Cr Bradbery said.
“I ask all our community members this year to come together in spirit instead of in person. We can keep the spirit of Anzac Day alive while continuing to be mindful of social distancing at this time and to mark this day safely and respectfully at their home on in their workplace. It will be a day when we are able to remember those served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“As we reflect on the sacrifice of those who served in the Military, we will remember the cost of the lifestyle and freedom that we enjoy today. We also realise that our efforts in the present crisis are part of a continuum of sacrifice by Australians for a better future. Lest we forget!”
For those at home, the ABC will begin its preservice programming from 5am, with the service broadcasted live from the Australian War Memorial’s Commemorative Area. The event will not be open to the public but will be broadcast live across Australia by the ABC and streamed online.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said while ANZAC Day will be different this year, with no community commemorative services or marches.
“ANZAC day is a sacred day for all Australians,” Mr Morrison said.
“It is an important time to remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before us, those who have laid down their lives or suffered great hardship to protect Australians’ way of life.”
“This year, we will not be gathering at the local cenotaph, or attending gunfire breakfasts at the local RSL, or gathering together to bow our heads in silence and listen to the bugles at dawn.
“But we will still remember the sacrifice of those who gave so much for us at Gallipoli and on many fronts, as we ourselves give what we can to protect Australian lives while we face this terrible virus.”
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