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Each year at dawn on Anzac Day, Australians young and old normally stand shoulder to shoulder to honour our past and present service men and women.
However, April 25, 2020 will be an Anzac Day like no other as all traditional services have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whitsunday Regional Council has produced a special Anzac Day ‘Light up the Dawn’ virtual service as a way of honouring the spirit of our Anzacs in these challenging times.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said the video features veterans and community members from the Whitsunday region recreating the various parts of a traditional Anzac Day service in their own driveways.
“I want to thank all the veterans, RSL members, school children, anthem singers and trumpeter for embracing our virtual service concept and being so giving of their time.
“To me, April 25 is one of the most important in the year’s calendar, and by lighting up the dawn, we can showcase our Anzac spirit and honour our service men and women like never before,” he said.
“On Anzac Day at 6am I encourage all residents to stand on your driveway or verandah and reflect on what these fine men and women have done for our country.
“Ponder what they have fought for, what they have endured and the sacrifices they have made for our freedom.
“Celebrate the fact that even in these difficult times of COVID-19, we still live in the best country in the world.”
Mayor Willcox urged people who were honouring the Anzacs from their driveway to ensure they still observed social distancing and for anyone who was feeling unwell to stay inside.
“I look forward to returning to a traditional service in 2021 but let’s make Anzac Day this year one to remember,” he said.
Proserpine RSL President Jason Raiteri encourages the Whitsunday community to pause and pay their respects on Anzac Day.
“It is so important to remember those brave men and women who never came home, those that returned but died from wounds in war and those who have died from suicide since returning home.
“Around Anzac Day many veterans struggle mentally and it will likely be worse this year due to the isolation, so if you know a veteran then give them a call or shoot them a text and just say g’day,” Mr Raiteri said.
Bowen Veteran Peter Hannah said he remembers the people he served with, not just on Anzac Day, but every day of the year.
“Serving together builds a strong bond because we relied on each other to play our role during horrific times and you never lose that sense of mateship.
“People should pause this year for a minute’s silence and genuinely think of those people you are being silent for, especially the ones that lost their lives and who can’t speak today.”
“Also give thanks for those that did return home and if you see someone in uniform make sure you give them a wave,” he said.
Council’s Anzac Day Light Up the Dawn virtual service will be available on Council’s Facebook page or YouTube channel at 6pm on Friday night so residents can download and watch it as part of their personal commemoration on Saturday at dawn.