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(Australian Associated Press)
With Anzac Day’s once indestructable traditions cruelled by forced isolation, Australians will instead walk to the ends of their driveways on April 25 and light up the dawn.
RSL branches in every state have unanimously endorsed the gesture, with families across the nation expected to stand at their gates, on balconies or verandahs at 6am and hold a candle to fallen heroes.
Since regular public marches and services are cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, radio networks are signing on to livestream services people can tune in to outside on phones and tablets.
Musicians everywhere are being called on to take to their front yards to play the Last Post and Rouse or Reveille for neighbours. Residents are being urged to dress windows and mailboxes with poppies and kids to make bright red “wreaths” from painted egg cartons to hang on doors.
What began as a grassroots idea to mark Australia’s great day of remembrance has grown into a national campaign.
“We get thousands and thousands of people to dawn services in a normal year and a very great proportion of those are from the general public,” RSL Australia general manager Kim Henshaw told AAP on Wednesday.
“So this gives them a way that they can have their own private commemoration. We see it as very positive indeed.”
He said it was decided at a national hook-up on Monday to tag the initiative Light Up The Dawn.
In Brisbane, school teacher Alastair Tomkins has launched Music for Mateship in a bid to “bring our community together one street at a time by playing the Last Post, observing a minute’s silence and playing Rouse”.
Anyone interested should download the music sheets, start practising and notify their neighbourhood via a letterbox drop, he says.
ABC Local Radio and some commercial networks have agreed to broadcast services from 6am.
West of the NSW Blue Mountains, at Bathurst, local stations 2BS and B-Rock are inviting residents to hold a candle in their driveways during a seven-minute broadcast
Community station 2MCE at the town’s Charles Sturt University campus will stream the service to 100 other stations across the country.
At Scone in the state’s Hunter Valley, locals are being encouraged not to tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree but a purple one traditionally used in Anzac garlands on their fences and railings.
On Facebook and Twitter, dozens of community support groups and pages have asked tens of thousands of followers to register for “letterbox events”.
Credit for the idea is being directed at Melbourne man Justin Wilbur, the son of a Vietnam veteran who says, “nothing is going to stop us from remembering” our Diggers.