I woke up in what felt like the middle of the night to mum knocking on my bedroom door. We’d rug up in our warmest clothes and head out in to the freezing morning weather. We parked as close as possible to the gathering crowd and made our way into the throng of waiting people.
I’d push my way through the crowd towards the front where my grandma was waiting. She would always get a spot right up the front leaving home early on her electronic scooter.
As the ceremony commenced she would mouth every word, she would always look so happy, I always thought it was because she felt close to Pa on days like this. She felt the support from all the people gathered around our local clock tower for their efforts and sacrifices during their involvement in WWII.
Anzac day holds great importance for the war veteran and their families. This is evident by the number of people who attend the annual Anzac Day ceremonies around the country.
My family has been going with my Grandma since I as old enough to understand why we had to get up so early. When I attend now I look around and see numerous young people all my age. It appears that the Anzac tradition has been passed down through the generations, as the numbers of people coming to show their respects continues to grow.
“In previous years we’ve counted close to four and a half thousand people” Says Squizzy ‘John’ Taylor, flag barer at the Anzac day ceremony in Ringwood.
Squizzy is a Vietnam veteran and he has been carrying on the Anzac traditions. He described to me how the RSL in Ringwood offered vets like himself a support network, with like people.
“We’ve got a community of like people here. People who we can look to for support, but on Anzac day that community gets bigger.” says Squizzy.
He described Anzac day as a day where vets feel the whole community behind them.
‘’..and it’s not only the WWII vets, it’s the Korea, Vietnam and even more recent veterans who get involved in the commemoration of Anzac day.” Suqizzy said.
Squizzy thinks that in no way are the Anzac traditions fading away, but rather getting stronger every year.
“I feel like Anzac day is a part of our culture, it’s like another Australia day but with more meaning to people’’ says 17 year old school student Lily. “It’s a day we celebrate the people that made the country the way it is today”
According to veterans affairs it is important to the vets that the future generations respect Australia’s history. They describe Anzac day as a day of appreciation for the defense communities and their families for the sacrifices they’ve made for the country. According to the DVA representative it is expected that during the Anzac centenary period 2014-2018, the commemorative activities will grow is numbers.
“We’re estimating that at the Ringwood Ceremony alone there will be 5000 people or more” says David Jamierson President of the Ringwood RSL “and that’s just here, the city ceremony will be bigger than ever, the support shown by the public just continues to grow each year.”
According to Jamierson Anzac day is the biggest day on the RSL calendar. He described it as a celebration of peoples lives and a day when the veterans feel that the whole community is behind them.
“It creates a supportive environment for the people to remember their loved ones, and sadly as there are less and less WWII vets left there are more people who want to pay their respects and remember those they’ve lost” says Ruth Rooney, member of Ringwood RSL.
“I find that people feel it’s getting important for people that they pay their respects, judging by the continuously growing crowds around the commemorative events” says Rob Waterson the Appeals Officer at Ringwood RSL
To the people in everyone involved in the RSL community its important that the youth of today understand the Anzac traditions.
“Learning about the Anzac principles in school is very important, it teaches not only the traditions but also the idea of mateship and resilience” says Ken Rooney member of the Ringwood RSL and Anzac Appeal volunteer.
The Official Journal of the Ringwood RSL found that the Anzac appeal raised over fifty thousands dollars in 2013 and the Poppy Appeal raised nearly forty thousand. The Australian public is clearly generous to causes they believes in and support.
To some Australians Anzac day is our national day. The Anzacs helped create the Australian image which is why so many of our servicemen rely on that day for support and remembrance and why they want the traditions to be continued by the future generations.
Over the past ten years the Anzac day commemoration has grown each year. With nearly forty thousand attending the ceremony in the city. Clearly the youth of today and their families have embraced the Anzac tradition. The day is a part of the counties soul and unites the nation , its not easily going to fade from importance.