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(Australian Associated Press)
Australians are being encouraged to honour service personnel on Anzac Day by paying their respects on social media and in their driveways, rather than gathering shoulder to shoulder across the nation.
With public gatherings banned and restrictions in place due to coronavirus, the RSL is calling for the droves of Australians who usually turn out to services to post online messages of support or videos of themselves reciting The Ode in the lead up to April 25.
RSL NSW acting president Ray James says The Ode is an enduring promise to honour and remember Australian service personnel, and this year should be no different.
“The Ode is a crucial element of all Anzac Day services,” Mr James said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Its words (are) embedded in the hearts and minds of Australians as a way we can solemnly communicate our enduring appreciation for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.”
Well-known Australians including media personalities Georgie Gardner and Joe Hildebrand, actor Dan Ewing and commando Damien Thomlinson have uploaded video messages.
Traditional public marches and services have been cancelled, but some services will be live-streamed so people can tune in online.
“Nothing can ever take away the importance of Anzac Day and what it means to all of us, most especially those currently serving, and all veterans and their families,” Mr James said.
The RSL has also endorsed a grassroots push for people to commemorate Anzac Day at dawn from their driveways.
Families across the nation are expected to stand at their gates, on balconies or verandahs at 6am and hold a candle to fallen heroes.