Long weekends, public holidays and short working weeks are always met with big smiles and eager chats about plans to get away or relax. Although, leading up to this next public holiday it’s important for us to remember the meaning behind such a significant day – Anzac Day – and take a moment to pay tribute and respect to all the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) that served in Gallipoli and the First World War, and the many other Australian and New Zealand service personnel who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
How ANZAC Day has evolved
The first Anzac Day commemorations were held in 1916, initially established as a tribute for those that served in Gallipoli, with it later becoming an established National Day of Remembrance in the 1920s.
It is said that only approximately 3,000 war veterans out of the 600,000 Australians that served in WWII are still alive today, and sadly our last living Anzac passed away several years ago. Although our tangible connect to the day is fading quickly, new generations – primarily untouched by the reality of war – are still seeking connections with this important piece of Australian history. These connections come in the form of continuing traditions such as the Dawn Service, the Last Post and Anzac Day marches, just to name a few.
Marking the day in your own way
Whether you’re up for the Dawn Service, an annual Anzac biscuit baker, or spend the day with loved ones, everyone has their own unique way to commemorate the day. Have a read of what Anzac Day means to some of our First National leaders, and take the time to think about how you and your family mark the 25th of April. If you’re looking to adopt a new way to commemorate Anzac Day and pay your respects with kids in tow, we recommend these 3:
1. Baking Anzac Biccies
Kids love getting messy in the kitchen, and Anzac biscuits – whether chewy, crunchy, or syrupy – always turn out delicious. You can bake and gift them to friends, neighbours or family, or encourage your kids to set up a stall and sell them, donating profits to a charity like the Anzac Appeal or the Anzac Foundation.
2. Visit a local memorial site
There’s nothing quite as powerful as a memorial site as a backdrop for talking about the meaning of Anzac Day with your children. And it’s particularly powerful to experience the ceremonies and the coming together of people from all walks of life that takes place at a memorial site on Anzac Day. Places of Pride will help you find a memorial near you.
3. Read a book together
Sometimes understanding Anzac Day can be difficult for kids. Thankfully, plenty of books are available that delve into the topic at an appropriate level for kids of all ages. It’s great to read these books together so that you’re on hand to answer the inevitable questions.
To mark Anzac Day in the comfort of your own home Commemorate Anzac Day Your Way has plenty of ideas for paying your respects minus the crowds. And for a complete list of events planned for 2022, visit the Australian War Memorial.
The way we pay our respects may change, but the sentiment doesn’t
As new generations become removed from the realities of those who have served, the importance of keeping traditions alive and maintaining our connection and appreciation for the past strengthens. Everyone pays their respects in their own way, and while traditional in-person ceremonies looked a little different over the last two years, the sentiment remains strong, and in most states, these will revert to past traditions for 2022.
It’s essential to check with your local health authorities, and if in doubt, Commemorate Anzac Day Your Way at home.