Western Australia is staring down the barrel of a very different ANZAC day this year.
But commemoration of the day will not be stopped, even with the virus shutdown stopping traditional ANZAC Day services for the first time in 100 years.
Instead, the RSL will be hosting a virtual ANZAC day ceremony to be watched online, and Australians will stand on their driveways at 6am to collectively pay respects while isolating.
Though it’s traditional for servicemen and women to meet socially on day, the virus crisis means that that can’t happen.
Returned Servicemen’s League WA CEO John McCourt said that a large part of the concern was for the health of older veterans and the risk of coronavirus exposure for those people.
“They won’t be able to gather as a big group and of course commemorate and then have a few beers. We understand that these are extraordinary times which requires extraordinary measures.”
Mr. McCourt said that the smaller online ANZAC day services might provide an extra layer of meaning for the event.
“i’ve lost count how many suggestions that have been of a family member, playing the last post – either by bugle or trumpet or clarinet, whatever they can get the hands on – so they’re going to give it a crack and I think that’s very Australian and I think it’s gonna be quite exciting.
Mr McCourt said that the online services and social media were a new way to keep the ANZAC memory alive.
“We’ve got a very strong following already on Facebook, on Instagram, and we’re actually encouraging on ANZAC Day that the younger folk and the older folk use Instagram and Facebook to get together, while they’re apart.”
He said that ANZAC day has remained an important part of many young people’s lives.
“We’re always encouraged by how many younger people were turning out to traditional services.”
“This is just another way, and another good way to commemorate together while staying isolated apart.”