Anzac Day in a virtual world
This Anzac day, Australia’s High Commissioner has invited the public to post a virtual poppy flow and online message in remembrance of those who served their country in war.
Falling on next Monday, 25 April, Anzac day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) is dedicated to remembering the contribution of soldiers who served both countries’ militaries in war and conflict.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Australian Government to cancel all overseas services for commemorating the public holiday.
Instead, members of the public are being encouraged to explore an interactive online poppy field at lestweforget.gov.au. (The red poppy has become a symbol for remembering those who died in war and is frequently worn in both countries on the day.)
The website allows the public to leave messages of remembrance and thanks for those who have served.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty, encouraged people to conduct private commemorations of Anzac day,
“Sadly, as a result of COVID-19, there will be no government-led public overseas Anzac Day services this year,” she said.
“Instead, we encourage people to commemorate privately as we come together in spirit to reflect upon the service and sacrifice made by Australians in all wars and on operations.
“Amongst the ‘Anzacs’ were soldiers from the Pacific—from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and the Cook Islands. Together, they all wore the same uniform and shared the same terrible experience of war. Their story, the Anzac story, is one that unites us.”
Ms. Moriarty encouraged people in Samoa, Australia, and the world to take time at home or online to pause for a moment at home or online to honour those who served so that others might live peace.
“No matter where you are this [Anzac Day], I invite you to post a virtual poppy and message online at lestweforget.gov.au to remember those who have served our nation,” she said.
“Lest We Forget.”
Australia’s traditional ANZAC Day dawn service at the nation’s war memorial will be able to be streamed live from Canberra via the Australian Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Australian War Memorial’s own social media channels.
In Samoa, Anzac Day is marked by a parade held on Beach Road, which culminates in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Clock Tower in the centre of town.
The traditional dawn service is usually well attended by senior Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and family members of those who served.
Last year’s ceremony was canceled due to state of emergency orders restricting public gatherings.
A tribute to Australian, New Zealand and Samoan soldiers who lost their lives on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula at Anzac Cove in Turkey during World War I was held instead.