Some words from our DFA Northern Queensland delegate, Chandell.
So far with COVID-19 my family’s life has remained relatively unchanged but that’s about to change with Anzac Day.
As a Defence child and now a Defence family, Anzac Day has a very special meaning to my family, as I am sure it does for so many others. But this year it will be different, and I am still trying to come to terms with just how different it is going to have to be.
Anzac Day for me is steeped in tradition, with any number of small rituals performed to mark the day. For as long as I can remember I have attended a Dawn service, first with my Dad and then with my own family. The ones with my Dad were particularly special, because often his Defence service would mean he missed so many other special occasions.
I remember understanding the solemness of the occasion before I understood much else, and that this was my Dad’s ‘Day’. As a Veteran of an older generation he was not big on the celebrations, so we would head home after the service, I would cook him breakfast and he would be asleep on the couch by lunch time.With my husband we have managed to commemorate Anzac Day together every year of service, including the year he was deployed.
How amazingly special that is, is not lost on me. Our rituals now will be much like those of other families. There is the laying out of the outfits the night before, rulers to ensure medals are placed correctly on suits, poppy badges, early nights.
Then early morning alarm, quietly dressing and joining the commute to the base. There is the gunfire breakfast – though my husband doesn’t drink rum on any other day, the hushed conversations before the service, the families standing towards the back the children.
Then there is the sunrise, the spine tingling bugles and pipes, followed by a BBQ breakfast and the start of the games and rowdiness.
For us now there is the quieter drinks with mates, football on TV, the kids all playing together, the banter, the unbelievable stories, and sometimes the sharing of pain and the burdens of their memories.So, this year, what will our Anzac Day look like without all of those things?
I have been stuck in the grief of all that will be missing this year, but I am determined that the meaning of Anzac Day will not be lost for our family. We will get up early, dress, stand at the end of our driveway to hear the service. We will have a BBQ breakfast and teach our children the fun and history of Two-Up, and we will watch the broadcast of the 11am service.
I will encourage my husband to call his mates, especially those he served overseas with, to tell the old stories and share in the things that I even I can’t understand. I will take the time to teach my children that no matter the circumstances, it is incumbent on us to keep the Anzac Spirit alive.
Lest we forget.
What will you be doing to commemorate Anzac Day this year?