Anzac Day 2013 is the 98th anniversary of the original landing by be the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which Australians commemorate the service of those who have served their country on Active Service. Remembrance Day, in November, on the other hand, is the day on which we remember those who gave their lives in combat in all wars.
I have developed a fairly routine order for the day. It begins by attending a local dawn service at the Doncaster sub branch of the RSL. Here, I meet up with my oldest mate, Ken Wriedt, and a few other Vietnam Veterans. Ten years ago, only about fifty people attended this service but now over 400 people are up early in the morning at dawn to attend.
Breakfast is on the way home at a little cafe that opens early. Here I get a friendly welcome from the owner as he makes coffee and catch up with another friend, Paul McCrowan. Paul served in 6RAR and at one time taught our kids at Primary School.
Back home, I am able to watch the first part of the march on TV before Ken picks me up to go into the city to join my unit, 85 Transport Platoon. We generally march off by about 11.30 am towards the Shrine of Remembrance where the official ceremony is held. Before us, representatives of units from WW1, WW2 and Korea will have marched. It never ceases to amaze me that even though there are no veterans from WW1 still alive, and few from WW2, that it still takes over 2 1/2 hours after the march starts before we begin. I just managed to get my head on TV as I carried our banner past the cameras.
This year, Jill, Cathy and the girls came to watch and cheer us on and then joined us old diggers for lunch. It was very nice to have them along.
In earlier years, a few of us would have soldiered on for an afternoon beer at one of the pubs, or dropped in to another venue to see if any other old mates were there to catch up with, but age has now decided that a good lunch is enough celebration for us in one day, so it was back home after a good day and an early night.