By Helene Fung
Today is an unusual ANZAC Day, as official ANZAC Day memorial services have been cancelled due to COVID-19 related social distancing restrictions.
A ceremony was held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra at dawn this morning, attended by a handful of political leaders and veterans. It was broadcast live over the internet, and watched by many from their homes.
RSLs around the country also asked people to pay respects from their home , and grassroots movements of “driveway memorial services” have gathered momentum in the past month.
Social media was flooded this morning with photos and videos of Australians holding candles, standing at their driveways paying their respects to neighbourhood hobby musicians playing “the Last Post” on various instruments – from actual bugles, to clarinets, to violins.
There were even photos of back yard fire pits being lit in memorial, one of which have been used to cook a “gunfire breakfast” for the family participating.
Perth’s South Metropolitan Health Service also posted a video of Emergency Department staff at Fiona Stanley hospital gathering outside the hospital for a dawn service this morning in their scrubs, standing 1.5 metres apart and holding LED candles.
The Ode was read by nurse Vanessa Fraser in her Army Reserve Captain uniform. Frontline soldiers fighting the current pandemic war paid tributes to servicemen and women who fought for Australia in wars defined in the more traditional sense. A very fitting tribute.