How to Commemorate #AnzacAtHome

17 April 2020

Anzac Day is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Saturday 25 April 2020 will be an Anzac Day for the history books, with all public events cancelled as result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This presents a unique opportunity for Australians to pause in the safety of their own homes, to honour our veterans and reflect on the Australian spirit.

At Ypres, Belgium, the names of 55,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in WWI are inscribed on the Menin Gate. This solemn list includes the names of 6,000 Australians. These soldiers were never found. From 1 July 1928, a year after the Menin Gate inauguration, volunteer buglers began a tradition of playing the Last Post at the Gate every evening. This has continued every day, ever since. The only exception was during WWII when Ypres was under German occupation from 20 May 1940 to 6 September 1944. Instead, the buglers continued the nightly tradition from Surry in the UK. On the very first day Ypres was liberated by Allied forces, a bugler returned to the Gate and once again played the Last Post. Gunfire could still be heard in the distance.

If neither a World War nor German occupation can stop the commemoration of our soldier’s sacrifices, then nothing can.

So how can you commemorate #AnzacAtHome?

1. Hold your own Driveway Dawn Service. At 5:55am head to the end of your driveway, light a candle and share a minute silence as Australians line the streets across the county.

2. Tune into the Anzac Day coverage of the National Dawn Service. From 5:00am local time you can watch the service on ABC TV, the ABC Australia Facebook page, and also on the ABC Australia YouTube channel.

3. Create some paper poppies or wreaths and display them in your front window or garden. Here is a short tutorial on how to make poppies.

4. Bake Anzac cookies with your family and discuss the history of Anzac Day and why we continue to commemorate its significance each year.

4. Reach out to a veteran. With many people alone during this time of isolation, it is time to invoke the Anzac value of mateship. If you know a veteran please call or reach out to them, check in on them, thank them for their service and help them if needed during this time.

Anzac Day is about commemorating those who fought for our freedom and reflecting on the qualities of the Anzac spirit — courage, endurance, humour, ingenuity, and mateship. These are perhaps more relevant to Australians now more so than ever before. Despite feeling trapped within our homes due our current situation we cannot, and we will not, forget their sacrifice.

This year let us come together as we stay apart.

Lest We Forget