As long as I am able to recall even from a very early age, ANZAC Day involved three things - attending the ANZAC Day March, talking about the ideals of ANZAC within the family, learning about ANZAC at school.
ANZAC has a strong local component.
In recent years with many Australians feeling under pressure for being loyal to the symbols of Australia such as ANZAC the ASNZAC Day marches and services have been better attended and - as it were – shouted at the roof tops.
John Skinner is one of our Press Service International (PSI) senior writers and a Panellist marking the young writers for their annual awards. John is also a Vietnam veteran and President of the Warwick RSL Sub-Branch.
This is the type of thing John organisers in his region to ensure every part of the community is able to reflect on ANZAC and what it means to the nation.
John Skinner - President Warwick RSL Sub-Branch
Our pre-ANZAC Day school visits (all 17 schools in our area plus this year, we are doing a service at Inglewood State School which is outside our area but not covered by the Goondiwindi RSL Sub-Branch due to a lack of numbers.
We now have three Aged Care facilities in Warwick, all request a service for their ‘oldies’ and we do a complete service there.
We also have many volunteers working our merchandise stall in the shopping centre – it’s our main income stream for the year and so is very important for us.
Due to Monday April 22 being Easter Monday and schools are on holidays before then, we have only April 23/24 to do our services.
My schedule at this stage is;
Tuesday, April 23;
10.30am, Akooramak Aged Care facility, do complete service.
Wednesday, April 24;
5.45am, Scots-PGC Dawn Service
8.30am, Warwick West State School, make an address and lay a wreath (with my six-year-old granddaughter).
10.15am, Warwick Christian College, make an address and lay a wreath (I know about 25% of the students and they love to give me a hard time).
2pm, Warwick Churches of Christ Care, Aged Care Centre, do a complete service. This is the first year this new centre has been operating.
Thursday, April 25;
5.15am Dawn Service, Warwick Cenotaph (as MC).
8.15am, Warwick War Graves ceremony – run complete service.
10.40am, assemble Digger’s Column before going to and mounting the Reviewing Officers dais with Commander Peter Ashworth (RAN).
11am, Main ANZAC Day service, Warwick Cenotaph (my part is short), including the ‘Fade Away’ ceremony then march back to the Memorial Club.
12.30 for 1pm, ANZAC Luncheon (MC) and leave before the Two-Up starts at 2.30pm.
Monday, April 29;
10am, The Oaks Nursing Home, complete service.
NB: All other services and schools have Sub-Branch members either in attendance, laying wreaths, making an address or running the whole service, depending on the individual schools.
It’s Local across the nation
This same type of ANZAC ‘alert’ is spread around the nation in every little community – village, town, city ….
The late Patsy Adam Smith’s book The ANZAC’s has a chapter on the Padres. One poignant section has a Padre answering the question, what is war? “Writing letters to mothers, wives, sweethearts”.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html