Covid-19 interrupts Anzac Day tradition

Yanchep Two Rocks RSL was not able to hold its traditional Anzac Day services in Yanchep this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

RESIDENTS who usually attend services at the Yanchep Sports & Social Club or the Yanchep National Park commemorated Anzac Day in a different way this year.

Some lit candles near the end of their driveways where they could wave to neighbours while they listened to a special broadcast from the Australian War Memorial on ABC Radio Perth.

While the traditional dawn service, national ceremony and veterans’ march did not take place this year, a nationally-televised ceremony was held in the commemorative area and Hall of Memory of the memorial from 5.30 EST.

The commemorative service included an address from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a didgeridoo player and a small catafalque party.

Australian War Memorial director Matt Anderson said it was important to give Australians the opportunity to pause safely in their homes and reflect on the service and sacrifices of our defence forces, both past and present.

“In a time of profound change in our lives, we need to embrace some constants,’’ he said. “Honouring the Anzacs is something we have done every year and we are richer for it.

“On the battlefield at Pozieres in 1916, a mortally wounded Australian asked Australia’s official war correspondent, Charles Bean, ‘Will they remember me in Australia?’ Will they remember me at home?

“This year, as every year, at home we will remember.

“This year marks the 105th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

“More than a century has passed since the first Australians came ashore at Anzac Cove, yet we are so closely connected to them through a long line of servicemen and servicewomen who have followed.

“The legacy of those who served Australia in the past is carried on by those who continue to serve today,” he said.

Mr Anderson said that while Anzac Day 2020 was in many ways different to recent years, this year’s service was something of a return to early commemorations at the memorial.

“The first Anzac Day ceremony held at the memorial was in 1942, with restrictions over large gatherings due to the war.

“It was a small ceremony held in the commemorative area, which had yet to record the 102,000 names in bronze installed along what is now the Roll of Honour,” he said.

“The service held this morning and the grassroots movements to mark Anzac Day across the country – and around the world – demonstrate the resilience and determination of Australians to commemorate despite the challenges we’re facing this year.

“The fact that Australians chose their own ways to honour our Anzacs, past and present has, I think, added new meaning to the day.

“I would also like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of memorial staff and the ABC, to deliver the Anzac Day commemorative service.

“Under unique circumstances, the team has worked with great professionalism to ensure the Australian War Memorial is where it should be; at the centre of the nation’s official commemoration of active service.”

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs had encouraged Australians to join together by individually commemorating with a personal reflection at 11.30am AEST – 4.30 am in Gallipoli – a time that broadly represented the landings at Gallipoli at dawn on April 25, 1915.

The ABC and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs produced a video and audio personal reflection piece, to help Australians with their personal reflection at 11.30am – consisting of the Ode, a minute’s silence and the Last Post.