Over 6,500 visitors gathered this morning at the commemorative heart of the Nation, the Australian War Memorial for the Anzac Day Dawn Service and National Ceremony.
Memorial Director Mr Matt Anderson said this morning’s commemorative events were a powerful reminder of the continued dedication of the Australian people to the annual traditions of Anzac Day.
“To welcome, in the midst of a global pandemic, thousands of veterans, defence force personnel, their families, members of the public and dignitaries across both the Dawn Service and National Ceremony here at the Australian War Memorial is a powerful reminder to what matters to us as a nation,” Mr Anderson said.
“People have a special connection to Anzac Day and what it represents for our servicemen and servicewomen – and indeed for all Australians. It was wonderful to see so many people able to attend this year and to watch the events from home through ABC’s live coverage across the nation.”
“On Anzac Day this year, we paused to commemorate not only the 106th Anniversary of the landings on Gallipoli in 1915, but to remember the commitment and sacrifice of all our men and women who serve and have served in conflicts and on operational service,” Mr Anderson added.
For the ninth year in a row, images of Australian servicemen and servicewomen were projected onto the front façade of the Memorial ahead of the Dawn Service. The pre-dawn proceedings also featured a series of readings by Australian servicemen and servicewomen and commenced with Flight Lieutentant Tjapuki Shaw, a Wiradjuri man of 22 Squadron, playing the didgeridoo from the parapet of the Memorial. This was followed by the Dawn Service Commemorative Address given by Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Scott Morrison MP.
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO DSC, Chief of Air Force went on to deliver the Commemorative Address at the National Ceremony that followed later in the day, with 2021 marking the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
“From the pioneers who had flown with the Australian Flying Corps, courageous innovators operating early aircraft when aviation was barely two decades old, to the aviators of today providing humanitarian relief both abroad and at home. We take a moment today to thank the aviators of past and present for over 100 years of service.
“The Memorial continues our mission into 2021, determined to recognise and reflect on contemporary conflicts, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian missions. On ANZAC Day we take time out of our busy lives to give thanks to those Australians who have worn our nation’s uniform proudly and who have put service before self. And we remember, at this very hour, there remain Australians deployed and in harm’s way.
We honour them, and we think too of their families; we share their prayers for a safe return,” Mr Anderson concluded.
The Memorial reopened to the public at 1pm following the conclusion of the National Ceremony.