Anzac meaning renewed amid virus: Premier

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Dominica Sanda
(Australian Associated Press)

 

The sacrifices of earlier generations will be more significant than ever this Anzac Day, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says, as the state’s residents prepare to commemorate from their homes amid the fight against COVID-19.

With Anzac Day services and marches across Australia cancelled, and residents urged to stay home due to the pandemic, the NSW premier says the day will have a renewed meaning.

“More than ever, all of us will come to contemplate and appreciate what our Anzacs did in 1915,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

“The sacrifices generations have made before us come into greater significance given what all of us are going through this year.”

Australians have been encouraged to stand at the end of their driveways, on their balconies or in their loungerooms at 6am on Saturday to commemorate those who served, those who died and those who are still serving.

A national service from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra will be broadcast on television at 5.30am and will be followed by a televised service in NSW at 10am on Saturday.

Ms Berejiklian, NSW Governor Margaret Beazley, RSL NSW acting president Ray James, a bugler and a vocalist will take part in the 30-minute service from Sydney’s Anzac memorial in Hyde Park and the Cenotaph in Martin Place.

NSW acting Veterans Minister Geoff Lee urged people to stay home to keep the community and veterans safe.

“We can’t have mass gatherings … The elderly and many of our veterans are in our highest-risk category,” Mr Lee told reporters.

Mr James says the changed Anzac Day schedule would prove difficult for veterans, especially those who are older.

He urged people to give any veterans they know a call and check on their welfare.

“Initally it was hard, but they have realised the situation we are in now is something different, it’s a one in 100 year event,” Mr James said.

“Nothing can ever take away the importance of Anzac Day and what it means to all of us.”

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