Anzac Day is one of our nation's most important occasions, where we recognise the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought during our country’s first major military action over a century ago. While recognising the fallen soldiers is a proud national tradition, this year, we’ll be unable to commemorate them the way we have in previous years due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
John Macgregor-Skinner, a Vietnam volunteer and a technical official who has officiated at multiple events across Queensland for many years, says that the pandemic will not stop him recognising the Anzacs this year.
“On a normal year, April 25 would start with a dawn service, followed by gunfire, breakfast, and coffee royals (meaning coffee with rum), followed by a main street march interspersed with fellowship and reminiscing. Unfortunately, most of that is impossible this year, but the pandemic hasn’t stopped the contact between RSL branch members. It’s important to recognise the mutual reflection, sadness, and laughter that will be missing this year.”
Mr. Macgregor-Skinner notes that while we cannot remember and honour the fallen soldiers like we have previously, it is still important to recognise them in private.
“We must never forget those who served, those who are still serving today, and those who never returned. Many of the freedoms we enjoy and take for granted today, we have because of the sacrifices our soldiers, sailors, and pilots have made since landing on that beach in Gallipoli in 1915."
“We may not be able to recognise their sacrifice as a community, but as individuals, it is as important as ever to pause and reflect, as we continue to owe a great deal to those who served.”
Mr. Macgregor-Skinner, along with many others across the country, will still be recognising the Anzacs while in isolation.
“Our local RSL has combined with a community radio station, who will be streaming the service tomorrow morning. Myself, along with many of my neighbours and friends, will be listening to the service at the front of our house tomorrow morning. There has been a great acceptance across the community that recognising the Anzacs on the morning of April 25 will be as important this year as it has been for the past century.”
They shall not grow 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.