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This Saturday, April 25, is going to be a very different ANZAC Day. Since 1916, when it first began, our national day to commemorate Australians and New Zealanders who “served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” has involved dawn services and banding together to pay our respects. This year, we are asked to stay at home and privately commemorate our brave veterans and fallen soldiers. Perhaps this year though, in light of the current situation with COVID-19, many of us will dwell a little longer on notions of freedom, what we are grateful for and that we are still very much ‘the lucky country’ thanks to those who came before us.

There are many ways to pay your respects, including the wonderful initiative this year to all stand on our driveways at 6am to pay tribute, apart but together. Here are details of ways to commemorate our ANZACs this year:

    • The Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial will be broadcast live by the ABC. Click here for details

    • ‘Your Local Clubs’ is asking for video messages of thanks to pass on to our veterans in place of attending Services Clubs this year. You can leave your message by clicking here

    • ‘Soldier On’ and ‘Aussies and Kiwis for ANZACs’ have partnered this year to found ”Driveway at Dawn”. We invite you to take part in an incredible social movement where each and every one of us stands at our driveways from 5.55am on ANZAC day. An app has been released on both Android and Apple, that will feature a virtual candle and synchronised playing of The Last Post at precisely 6am so we can virtually stand side-by-side to show our respect as a nation. For further details click here for more

    • The Music For Mateship initiative (pictured below) asks all musicians to unite on their driveways at dawn to play The Last Post. The website even provides a letter you can give to your neighbours to notify them that you plan to play music very early on Saturday morning. Click here for more

    • RSL NSW suggests keeping the spirit of mateship alive and reaching out to a mate who might be alone. “Many people are alone during this time of isolation. It’s an opportunity to invoke the ANZAC value of mateship and check to see how a mate is doing.”

    • Donate to the ANZAC Appeal online at anzacappeal.com.au. Donations support Australian veterans and their families in need. Donations in New South Wales support services provided by RSL DefenceCare and Veteran Sport Australia.

    • Make your own wreath and hang it on your front fence. “We may not be able to stand together as we normally would this ANZAC Day but we can still stand united in spirit,” says WL member Victoria Young. “I’ve made a wreath (pictured below) to hang out the front of our house and encourage you all to join in (in any small way) to keep the ANZAC spirit alive!”

    • Willoughby Public School’s P&C have shared a free downloadable Poppy for kids to put up in their windows or on the outside of their homes. Click here

    • Read about the history of and try your hand at baking the original Anzac Biscuits click here

    • Thanks to WL member Olivera Ferguson for sharing this simple but effective craft project for kids making a remembrance poppy wreath from egg cartons (see below).