15 April 2011

Aussies reminded by MINVET about ANZAC Day commemorations

With Anzac Day just over a week away, the Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today reminded Australians of the many commemorative events taking place both domestically and overseas this year.

The Anzac tradition was born 96 years ago on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War where the feats of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps forged a legend of mateship, determination, courage and resourcefulness. It is these qualities that have been proudly displayed by Australian defence forces in every theatre of war since 1915.

“There are many opportunities for Australians to gather in towns and cities across the country to pause and reflect on the more than 102,000 Australian service personnel who have lost their lives serving our country.

“Attending a local service is the best way to pay our respect to those men and women who have helped shape our nation. Commemorative activities are conducted by community and ex-service organisations at hundreds of sites around the country. I thank all these organisations and their members across Australia for their hard work in organising local Anzac Day events.

“In the week leading up to, and including, Anzac Day, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will support over 800 separate activities,” Mr Snowdon said.

Australia’s Federation Guard will be involved in Anzac Day activities in Canberra, Sydney, Gallipoli, Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt in France and at the Menin Gate in Belgium. The Principal Chaplain for Navy will say prayers at a service in London. Commemorative services will also be held on the Kokoda Track (Papua New Guinea), in Sandakan (Malaysia) and at Hellfire Pass (Thailand).

“I urge all Australians to remember our current serving men and women, who embody the Anzac spirit around the globe. At present, more than 3,300 ADF personnel are deployed on operations protecting Australia and our national interests.

“Many ADF contingents deployed throughout the world in places like Afghanistan will conduct dawn services followed by traditional gunfire breakfasts, and games such as two-up within the parameters of continuing daily operational requirements and host-nation laws,” he said.

In the lead up to Anzac Day, Mr Snowdon will visit France to attend the interment of Second Word War Spitfire pilot, Flight Lieutenant Smith, whose remains were recovered in 2010. Mr Snowdon will then travel to Gallipoli, Turkey, for Anzac Day.

“I am very fortunate to be going to France where Australians served in two World Wars, and then to deliver addresses on Anzac Day in Gallipoli at the dawn service and at Lone Pine. It will be a privilege to walk in the footsteps of so many brave Australians,” he said.

Contact your local RSL, or visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website for details of services here.

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