Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions.
A day when all Australians come together in remembrance, to honour military veterans and service members. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
This year it will be a matter of coming together in spirit, instead of in person, to honour the Anzac spirit from the safety of home. The team at the Australian War Memorial has created a wonderful selection of activities, initiatives and information for #AnzacAtHome 2020. Watch videos, find activities for the kids, and place a virtual poppy online with a personalised message, and much more.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
In 1916 the first Anzac Day commemorations were held on 25 April. The day was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services across Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian military camp in Egypt. In London more than 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets; a London newspaper headline dubbed them “the knights of Gallipoli”. Marches were held all over Australia; in the Sydney march, convoys of cars carried soldiers wounded on Gallipoli and their nurses.
By the mid-1930s all the rituals now associated with Anzac Day – dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, two-up games – were firmly established as part of Anzac Day culture. Later, Anzac Day also served to commemorate the lives of Australians who died in the Second World War, and in subsequent years the meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those who lost their lives in all the military and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved.
Anzac Day may be different this year but the #AnzacAtHome and virtual commemorations will keep the Anzac spirit alive in their own special way.
The information above is reproduced with permission from the Australian War Memorial website.