Lest we’ve forgotten

OPINION

By DANI SHARP

The Anzac memory will be kept in a way not displayed in 105 years as COVID-19 has forced marches to be cancelled and crowds to be banned.

With the media saturated by coronavirus updates, health advice, restrictions and policy changes, it is imperative for citizens to save the story of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps from being an afterthought.

As tomorrow marks the 105th anniversary, how many Australians really know what happened on April 25, 1915? Or why we celebrate at the crack of dawn?

The Anzac Gallipoli landing was an eight-month campaign against the Ottoman Empire that resulted in 25,000 Australian casualties and an eventual retreat. During this failed military objective, the forces succeeded in cementing the Anzac Spirit – five qualities said to be relied on by all in times of hardship: mateship, humour, ingenuity, courage and endurance.

Every year since, Australians commemorate both the lives sacrificed and the spirit held by all in the war. After the announcements of World War II and other armed-conflicts, Anzac Day has broadened to commemorate all Australians who lost their lives in military operations.

The dawn services also represent a specific part of the Anzac fight.

No, it’s not just to get the ceremonies out of the way so everyone can get on with their day – the Anzacs first landed on the beaches of Gallipoli at dawn on April 25, 1915. This was a tactic commonly used in battle as the quiet, low-light moments before dawn were favourable for attacks.

The tactic is still referenced by Australians in military engagement to this day – soldiers are woken while it is still dark so they will be alert before the light comes, a technique known as the “stand-to”.

The bugle performance of The Last Post at an Anzac service is iconic in itself as it not only references the traditional call to end the day but pays tribute to those who have “gone to their final rest”. The song is then followed by a minute’s silence which is broken by the Reveille – the traditional morning wake-up call for soldiers.

In some ways, Anzac Day this year will be vastly different and the focus is on individuals to honour the fallen and those who served our country. Steps have been taken to adapt the Anzac service to meet the current coronavirus restrictions.

#Drivewayatdawn – or Light Up The Dawn – is a movement that has taken over social media. It encourages everyone in isolation to stand at the end of their driveways at 6am to commence a dawn service.

Apps have even been made to synchronise the nation’s ceremonies. Anzac Day 2020 is an app launched by Ballarat man Justin Wilbur and now gets around 1,000 downloads an hour. Available for both Apple and Android, the app tunes in to ABC Radio and guides users through the ceremony, including The Last Post, minute’s silence and Reveille.

Soldier On will also hold a live National Commemorative Service. Starting at 5am on Saturday, the service will be live from the Australian War Memorial and available on ABC TV and iView.

So, as we sit in isolation, enjoying our Netflix, home office, walking the dog and mad baking, let’s remember those who have made these and countless other freedoms possible.

Take the hike to your driveway, look out from your balcony or just stand in your living room and take a minute to commemorate our fallen heroes.

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