Moree Shire residents asked to Light up the Dawn during at-home Anzac Day commemorations

LEADERS from all tiers of government are urging Australians to invoke the Anzac spirit like never before and stand proudly at the head of driveways on Saturday morning and salute past and present armed services personnel who have fought and are still fighting for this country’s freedom.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Anzac Day this year will be unlike any other in living memory.

“Now, more than ever, we all need to invoke the spirit of our Anzacs across Australia, and I congratulate efforts to commemorate Anzac Day through ‘driveway’ ceremonies,” Mr McCormack said.

“Anzac Day is Australia’s most important day and it is imperative we take the time to reflect on those who died on battlefields thousands of kilometres from their homes and loved ones.

“Our Diggers showed great loyalty and mateship which has become the benchmark for our modern Australian defence personnel to follow.

“The difficult decision to cancel the traditional Anzac Day services across the nation has been made in the interests of public safety and the health and wellbeing of our local communities – especially our older veterans who are the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“While we cannot gather in large numbers to attend marches and ceremonies, we can still pay our respects in other ways.

“I encourage everyone to make time to observe a minute’s silence during Anzac Day to send a clear message of respect for our servicemen and women despite the significant challenges we face today,” Mr McCormack said.

Moree Plains Shire Mayor Katrina Humphries applauded the driveway initiative, dubbed Light up the Dawn.

“Standing together, although apart, during this current crisis on Anzac Day shows tremendous signs of strength in our community and across the nation,” Cr Humphries said. 

“Yes, how we will remember in 2020 needs to be different. But, importantly, we all have the opportunity to remember.

“I applaud the community members and official bodies who have adapted the commemorations in these unprecedented times,” she said.

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton encourages everyone to endeavour to make contact with those members of the community they know have served Australia and those that are still serving their country.

“At a time when we are all at home and doing our part to minimise the spread of coronavirus, many may be feeling isolated,” Mr Coulton said.

“I encourage everyone to think about reaching out to someone they know who has served, whether by phone, email, on social media, or even by letter.

“While we traditionally gather in large numbers, at its heart Anzac Day is a moment of personal reflection where we demonstrate our solemn respect for those who have served, and those who continue to serve in our nation’s uniform.

“It may look different this year, but Anzac Day is not cancelled, and there is a range of ways we can all pay our respects and mark the day,” he said.

“It has been inspiring to see different ideas emerging about the ways we can pay our respects. “Whether it’s a solitary driveway tribute, baking Anzac biscuits, or a small ceremony within your household, I encourage everyone to pause, reflect and say a simple ‘thank you’,” Mr Coulton said.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said Anzac Day was one of the most important dates on the Australian calendar, “but this year it will be very different”.

“Now, more than ever, we as a nation need to tap into the spirit of mateship, resilience, humour and ingenuity which has immortalised the Anzac legend,” Mr Marshall said.

“While laying a wreath is not an option for everyone this year, I encourage locals to take part in the Light up the Dawn initiative.

“At 6am on Saturday you can light a candle on the end of your driveway, in your living room, or on your balcony as a sign of respect.

“My thoughts go out to our local return servicemen and women and their families, as well as the descendants of those who fought in past conflicts.

“I also want to acknowledge the region’s RSL Sub-Branches for the work they do supporting their community.

“We are a resilient and brave region and we always pull together when times are tough.

“This Saturday let’s show our Anzac spirit and honour the pledge that we will still remember them,” he said.

Moree Plains Shire Council encourages residents to participate in an at-home dawn service on Anzac Day.

At 5.45am on Saturday, April 25, residents are asked to stand at the end of driveways, on kerbsides and nature strips, on balconies and decks and observe one minute’s silence.

From 6am The Last Post, a Piper’s Lament, the Ode and Reveille will be played from loudspeakers atop a giant boom at Moree Showground, an initiative of Moree Show Society.

Mayor Humphries applauds the creativity being used to acknowledge the Anzacs while abiding by social distancing restrictions.

“Anzac Day ceremonies are quite the tradition across our country, and rightly so,” Cr Humphries said.

“Over recent years, we are seeing more and more community members participating in Anzac Day commemorations and taking the time to acknowledge the service of our veterans.

“Knowing Moree as we do, there will be perhaps even more participants in the silent driveway vigil as we ponder and reflect and give our humble thanks to those that have, and still are giving, for us to remain safe,” she said.