ANZAC Day will have a special significance for Mitchell Shire service men and women this year after the COVID-19 pandemic saw the cancellation of in-person remembrance services last year.
Anzac Day marches and ceremonies will return across the state on April 25, and Broadford resident and RSL Victoria vice-president Des Callaghan said it was ‘great news’ for the state’s veterans.
“RSL Victoria have been working with the State Government and the Department of Health over the past few months to come up with a plan for this year’s march to go ahead, not just in Melbourne but across all of Victoria,” he said.
“There are a lot of unknowns with COVID. Look at what happened in February – at a minute’s notice we got shut down for a week. That could happen the day before Anzac Day.
“But it is great news for the state, because it is the most important day on the RSL’s calendar across Australia.
“We all have to abide by the COVID rules, and RSL Victoria has put in a COVID plan state-wide that everyone has to abide by.
When we’re marching we’ll keep our social distancing and try to register everyone who is marching.”
Kilmore Wallan RSL president Rod Dally said the day would be full of meaning for the region’s veterans.
“It’s been a very disappointing couple of years, but it will be good to have a service again,” he said.
“It’s going to mean a lot to the veterans and a lot of the people in town who have relatives who were or still are fighting for our country.”
Mr Dally said Anzac Day was about giving thanks to people who served Australia.
“Anzac Day is not about war, it’s about thankfully celebrating the lives and the sacrifice of the people who keep our country safe,” he said.
“These men and women do what the government asks them to do on behalf of Australian citizens.
“We’re not celebrating war. All of us who have fought would guarantee you we would not advise at any stage to go to war, but sometimes you must.
“We’re very grateful to be able to once again display our thanks to those people.”
Victorian Veterans Minister Shaun Leane said the government would provide $330,000 to RSL Victoria to ensure the safety of participants in this year’s Anzac Day ceremonies.
Density limits will still be in place at services, with the government encouraging people who are unable to attend to share a show of remembrance from home by taking part in a #lightupthedawn campaign on social media while observing a traditional minute’s silence from their driveways, front yards or balconies.
People can donate to the Anzac Appeal through website anzacappeal.com.au.