ANZAC Day dawn commemoration called off
Samoa will not be commemorating the annual celebration of ANZAC Day this year.
The decision was confirmed in a joint statement by the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions.
Every year, a parade is held on Beach Road, culminating in a wreath laying ceremony at the iconic Clock Tower to commemorate ANZAC Day on the 25th of April.
The dawn service is usually well attended by senior Government officials, the diplomatic corps representatives, and family members of the ANZACs.
According to the statement, it stated that the reason is because of the backdrop of the extraordinary and unprecedented response to the effects of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic around the world.
“And in line with Samoa’s current Orders of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) State of Emergency, the New Zealand and Australian High Commissions in Samoa, along with the Samoa Returned Services Association (R.S.A.) we wish to advise the public that the 2020 ANZAC Day Service for Samoa has been cancelled,” reads the statement.
It also added that instead, at dawn on Saturday 25 April 2020, everyone is encouraged to take a moment to remember the fallen and acknowledge the thousands of people who have served, or who are currently serving, in our armed forces.
“This is the time to focus on our whanau and aiga, and to draw on the values of service, sacrifice and support — as we have collectively throughout history during periods of war, adversity, strife and natural disaster — to keep us all safe.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
The President of Samoa’s R.S.A., Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio said that the announcement made is the outcome of joint consultation between the New Zealand High Commission, Australia High Commission and the R.S.A. of Samoa in response to the declaration of the State of Emergency by the Samoa Government.
Tuala added that it is also in line with the call made by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (R.N.Z.R.S.A.) and Returned Services in Australia.
“The R.S.A. of Samoa is an affiliated member of R.N.Z.R.S.A. and as far as I can remember in the history of ANZAC and my association with the New Zealand Military this is the first time ANZAC Commemoration has been cancelled.
“Having said that, New Zealand as I understand from my communication with the RNZRSA, they are doing a STAND-AT-DAWN commemoration instead of coming together to one place to make the commemoration, New Zealanders are called to stand at dawn from the comfort of their homes, driveways or wherever they maybe 6.am on the morning on 25 April 2020 (ANZAC DAY).
“The R.S.A. in Samoa would like to ask our ANZAC Family in Samoa to follow and do the same to honour the Day. Stand at your front door, stand with us and take a moment to remember our fallen – but please stay within your ‘bubble’.”
He added that even though public Anzac Services are unable to go ahead, it does not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating our veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too.
“Provided that and in keeping with our State of Emergency laws a few of our veteran members of no more than five and standing 2 meters apart will lay a wreath on behalf of our colleagues at the Town Clock 0600 Saturday morning.”