Enduring Anzac spirit lives on through virtual commemorations
The New Zealand Defence Force and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RNZRSA) is encouraging everyone to take part in a unique Dawn Service this Anzac Day — standing together as a nation, while in their bubbles.
The #StandAtDawn campaign is born out of the cancellation of traditional Anzac Day services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It calls for Kiwis worldwide to stand at their letterbox, front door, balcony, or essential place of work at 6am on April 25 to take a moment to remember the sacrifice of others in service of their country.
This unified sign in these difficult times will be supported by other activities, both online and at home, in the days leading up to Anzac Day and aims to create a supportive platform for communities to come together in a new way.
Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said Anzac Day was an important day of commemoration for many New Zealanders, particularly for serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.
“Anzac Day is a day for remembering service and sacrifice in conflict, and the strength that comes from working together to overcome adversity,” he said.
“This year, more than ever, we need to draw on the many qualities that the enduring Anzac spirit has taught us; mateship, endurance, good humour, ingenuity and courage.”
He encouraged veterans, service personnel, families and the wider public to engage with the Stand at Dawn campaign.
RNZRSA National President B J Clark said Anzac Day was one of the most important national occasions for New Zealanders and Australians.
“Even though public Anzac services are unable to go ahead, it does not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating our veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too.”
It is hoped Kiwis will use the time leading up to Anzac Day to create, reflect and learn more about New Zealand’s military history by using a range of resources and creative interpretation.
Families can share photos of decorated letterboxes or front windows, Anzac biscuit baking, creating poppy wreaths or completing activity and colouring in sheets provided.
It is also hoped that Kiwis use this time to research their family’s military history and share stories of those who have served, using the #StandAtDawn hashtag.
On Anzac Day, along with standing at dawn to observe a minute’s silence, recordings of The Ode of Remembrance, the national anthems, and a bugler playing The Last Post/Reveille will be made available.
More details on how to get involved can be found here.
On the morning of 25th April 1915, Anzac troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula armed and ready to fight for the place them and many others called home. It’s from this act of pure selflessness and dedication to their homes, that each year we commemorate them for the sole purpose of remembering and acknowledging this utmost act of bravery.
Visit the NZHistory website for a comprehensive online collection of World War One material. You can also discover more stories about the war on WW100’s website.
Watch the many faces of our Force discuss #StandAtDawn.