A year ago, Australians marked Anzac Day without marches for the first time since the Spanish flu hit in 1919.
This year, with the coronavirus largely contained, the parades are back and ceremonies will have crowds, albeit limited ones.
However, services in Western Australia’s Perth and Peel region have been cancelled after a hotel quarantine outbreak led to community transmission.
The two regions will be in the midst of a lockdown on Sunday, with state leaders encouraging people to mark the occasion in their driveways.
Veterans’ organisations are encouraging other Australians to “light up the dawn” in their driveways.
Sunday marks the 106th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.
Anzac Day 2021 also marks major milestones for all three branches of Australia’s armed services.
The RAAF celebrates 100 years of service and the Royal Australian Navy, 110 years since it was granted the ‘Royal’ title by His Majesty King George V. The Australian Army is recognising the two million Australians who have served, and continue to, under the Rising Sun Badge for the past 120 years.
“Our armed services have loyally and courageously defended our nation for more than 100 years and I encourage all Australians to place our servicemen and women – past and present – at the front of our thoughts this ANZAC Day,” RSL national president Greg Melick said.
The Australian War Memorial has received approval from health authorities to hold the traditional dawn service and national ceremony.
This means 3000 pre-registered ticket holders will be able to attend the dawn service and 4200 for the national ceremony in Canberra.
The service will start with the playing of the didgeridoo by Flight Lieutenant Tjapukai Shaw, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivering the commemorative address.
The national ceremony will run from 10.30am to 12pm, with an address by Chief of Air Force Mel Hupfeld.
Those paying tribute at home are encouraged to stand at the end of their driveways at dawn, with a candle and radio or app for a synchronised playing of The Last Post, as occurred last year in the depths of the pandemic.
Royal Australian Navy veteran Grant Newham said his family had to rethink its commemorations during last year’s COVID-19 lockdown, taking part in Light up the Dawn.
“(We stood) at the end of our driveway at dawn with a candle, listening to The Last Post,” he said.
“It was so different to what we’d done in the past but it turned out to be really special. Light Up the Dawn feels like a really inclusive and meaningful way to appreciate our past and present servicemen and women which is why we’ve decided to participate again this year.”
The RSL acknowledged some people still felt uncomfortable in crowd situations and plans to stream a digital dawn service at 6am through lightupthedawn.com.au
“Regardless of how Australians choose to mark ANZAC Day, the most important thing is to pause and reflect on those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation,” Mr Melick said.
Governor-General David Hurley and Mrs Hurley are spending Anzac Day in the NT, attending the Darwin dawn service before travelling to Katherine for the parade and community reception.
In addition, the governor-general’s Anzac Day message will be broadcast on the ABC, focusing on the role families play in supporting serving men and women.
About 20,000 ADF personnel and cadets will contribute to activities, including the RAN ships HMAS Sheean and HMAS Armidale at the dawn service in Latrobe, Tasmania.
On health advice, Anzac Day services overseas will not go ahead including the Australian and New Zealand-led Anzac Day services in Turkey and the Australian services in France.
The day will still be recognised in these countries, however, with locally-based officials holding private commemorations.