The true achievements of the ANZAC soldiers were in their courage, determination, mateship and sacrifice. On the 25th April every year we remember and honour those ANZAC soldiers. We also remember those who served and fell in both world wars, in conflicts in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam, Timor and the Middle East. We will continue to honour and remember them.
We give thanks to the men and women of the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces who continue to serve on the numerous deployments around the world. We remember their families, who for today serves as a reminder of the sacrifice they may be called to make.
The ANZACs and those who came after them have given us all the gift of freedom; the freedom to live, study and work. The ANZAC spirit is still alive today. It exists in the men and women who currently serve in our Defence Force all over the world. It exists in all Australians. We owe it to them to live up to the standards they have represented. We need to face challenges together and overcome them; to put others before ourselves; to be courageous, self-reliant and determined. During the Covid-19 pandemic this is true more than ever. We must come together (distantly) to honour all who have served. This year we must overcome the challenge of dawn service being cancelled, remain socially distant (putting others before ourselves) and utilise our self-reliance and determination.
Below are some ideas to keep the day as true to its meaning as possible while following Australian law.
- On ANZAC Day, people across the country will stand at the end of their driveway, on their balcony or porch, or in the living room to remember all those who have served and sacrificed for this nation. You can help light up the dawn from 6am to observe the one-minute of silence. Read more about the RSL Queensland initiative.
- Music for mateship is an initiative that encourages musicians to use their talents to play the Last Post and Rouse and has the music available for non-musicians while they stand at the end of their driveways. A downloadable letter is included so you can notify and invite neighbours to their driveways on the 25th April to participate.
- Craft you own poppies and wreaths and display these on your front door. Follow others on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #supportANZAC and #putyourpoppiesout.
- If you have kids or grandchildren, help them learn and appreciate the history of the ANZACs. Video call children and read them a book such as ‘Anzac Ted’, ‘A Day to Remember’, ‘An ANZAC Tale’, ‘Digger’ “Gallipoli’ and ‘My Grandad Marches on ANZAC Day’ are good choices. If you have a library card, books can be accessed on Storybox Australia for free.
- The Australian War Memorial website has free eBooks to teach your family and others about ANZAC day. For younger kids, download ‘M is for Mates’ a picture book which contains information about animals A-Z in war.
- Bake Anzac biscuits. It has been claimed these biscuits were sent by wives and women’s groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients did not spoil easily, and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. Have them for morning tea while calling or Skyping a friend. Stay connected to each other. Talk. Share. Commemorate.
It’s also important to remember that it will not feel the same this year as it normally would. To manage the disappointment, remember these five steps.
Manage the emotion
Acknowledge the emotion. It’s important that you allow yourself to observe the different thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, sensations and urges that the day brings up for you. While doing this, come back into your body. You can do this by slowly breathing, stretching out your arms, back and neck, or engaging in a body scan
Don’t take it personally
When things do not go to plan many people are ready to attribute negative life events to our own personal failings. It is important to remember that many people are dealing with their own disappointment right now and this is not personal
Given the Covid-19 pandemic it is helpful to adjust expectations for Anzac Day 2020 in comparison to other years. Review your expectations. Are they unrealistic? Perhaps they could be adjusted a little to cope with this new reality. Are these expectations serving you currently?
Take a big picture perspective
Take this time to reflect. Take some time to explore what is happening for you and the connection to Anzac Day; what it means to you and what it has taught you. Talk to a friend, family or a psychologist if required. Talking to someone can help you recover, re-evaluate, gain insight and clarity.
Try again or try an alternative
Having followed these steps, it is now time to make an important decision about what to do next and how to act. Focus on what is in your control. This might mean commemorating Anzac Day differently to previous years. We might not be able to control our feelings of disappointment, but we are able to control our actions. Let your actions be guided by your values associated with Anzac Day.
Remember we are all going through this together. This is a challenge and one we can accept and work with. Connect with each other and call Mates 4 Mates on 13004MATES to enquire about booking an appointment with a psychologist. Appointments are available to eligible members with a GP referral.
Written by Mates4Mates Psychologist, Tamsin.