“We will remember them” ANZAC Day, 2020

Vietnam War Comradeship Memorial (detail), at Cabravale Park, Cabramatta, Sydney Dedicated to the memory of those who fought for freedom and made the supreme sacrifice in the Vietnam War.

Since 1916 on ANZAC Day, April 25, Australians have come together to commemorate the sacrifices of Australian, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and New Zealand service men and women, who have fought on the front lines and served in the military across all wars Australia has been involved in. We take this time to remember them and give our thanks for the freedom we are blessed with today.

In particular, we reflect on this day in 1915, when 16,000 ANZAC soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula in an attempt to capture Constantinople where they came face to face with the Ottoman Turks, allies with Germany. Through the course of the eight-month long campaign thousands of these men died and so many were wounded.

On ANZAC Day we stand united as a nation to express our heartfelt thanks for the courage, loyalty and sacrifice of our soldiers. With ceremony, silence and reflection, the reading of hymns, song, the laying of floral wreaths and the sound of the bugle reciting the Last Post we salute them and we remember them. This year though as we fight the global Covid-19 pandemic we won’t be gathering shoulder-to-shoulder at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, nor will we line the footpaths of George Street to cheer our veterans in the ANZAC Day March or join our mates at the pub for a beer and a game of Two-Up. ANZAC Day 2020 will be like no other.

The strengths of mateship, courage, ingenuity, endurance and humour that bind the Australian Spirit will unite us like never before as we join in new innovative ways to commemorate our soldiers past and present. With our hearts filled with memories for our loved ones and with the deepest of gratitude, from our loungerooms to the end of our driveways and in the digital world we will keep the ANZAC spirit burning bright.

Anzac day 2019, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commemorative Ceremony,
traditionally held after the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Aboriginal Memorial plaque at Mount Ainslie. Photograph: Andy Heaney

Ode of Remembrance
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

Events: Beginning at 5am on Saturday April 25 we are invited to tune in to ABC TV, ABC on Facebook, ABC’s YouTube Channel and local ABC Radio channels for a live streamed broadcast of the official Anzac Day Commemorative Service, which will take place at the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra. The service will uphold the traditional duties (except for the veteran’s march) including a ceremonial piper and didgeridoo player, the Commemorative Address, laying of wreaths, hymns, the bugle sounding the Last Post and one-minute silence followed by the New Zealand and Australian national anthems. Dignitaries who represent the Commonwealth of Australia, the people of New Zealand, the Returned and Services League and veterans will be attending the private ceremony, which is closed to the public.

At 5.55am RSL clubs across Australia invite everyone to Light up the dawn with candles or phone lights either at the end of our driveways, on balconies or in our homes in recognition of all armed services personnel past and present. You can make your pledge here or turn up out the front of your place at dawn. Click here for downloadable versions of the Last Post. Australian jazz musician James Morrison calls on fellow brass musicians to join the ‘Music for Mateship’ initiative and play the Last Post as part of ‘Light up the dawn’. Downloadable sheet music is available here.

Symbols of Remembrance: Sprigs of Rosemary growing in our gardens can be picked and tied in bunches to be shared between neighbours and worn as a symbol of remembrance. RSL Queensland invites kids and adults to get involved by making ANZAC Day Wreaths for display on doors and fences, in windows or placed in private memorial settings. Click here for a list of materials, instructions and a how to video.

Social Media: Record yourself reciting the ‘Ode of Remembrance’ or share a message of support for veterans on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Click ‘Going’ on the ANZAC Day 2020 Facebook event and use the hashtags #ANZACspirit and #lightupthedawn to share how you will be commemorating this ANZAC Day.

History: To explore the legend of the ANZAC’s and Australia’s experiences of war visit the Australian War Memorial’s website to search through the collection, historical notes,  stories, service records, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander war time articles, as well as photographs, educational tools, podcasts and more. The ABC’s Gallipoli web pages offer a series of first-hand accounts and commentaries. Children can explore the legend of the ANZACs with a visit to Kiddles: ANZAC Day facts for kids.

Art: The Gallipoli Memorial Club have announced artist Alison Mackay from Jervis Bay as the winner of the 2020 ‘Gallipoli Art Prize’ for her entry titled Breathe, which features a series of nine World War I gas masks rendered in oil paint on Birch and inspired by the artists experience of needing to wear a mask during the recent bushfires on the NSW South Coast. The exhibition of finalist’s works along with Mackay’s winning work Breathe can be explored online here.

The Australian War Memorial’s Napier Wallace Art Prize awards and showcases works, which reflect on Australian Stories of War created by current and former service personnel in the Australian Defence Force. The 2019 Napier Wallace Art Prize exhibition can be viewed online here, and the 2020 Napier Wallace Art Prize call for entries is open from 20 April to 7 June, followed by an exhibition of shortlisted entries online from 17 August.

Bringing ANZAC Day commemorations to a close at 4.55pm the AWM will present a pre-recorded Last Post Ceremony, which will be accessible on the Memorial’s digital platforms. The story of Private Thomas Anderson Whyte of the 10th Battalion AIF who was killed during the landing at Gallipoli in 1915 will be read by SGT Shelby Powell of the Royal Australian Air Force.

“Lest We Forget”