Personal commemorations

 

It's important for all Australians to have the opportunity to understand and acknowledge the contribution of those who were responsible for the traditions of Anzac, and their stories of service and sacrifice.

There are many ways for you to remember the personal sacrifice of those people who served Australia in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. The hardship of service extends to the loved ones and friends they leave behind. These people often cope with the emotional and physical effects of service for many years.

You might want to commemorate Australian veterans on a significant date or anniversary, such as Anzac Day (25 April), the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. Other ways to commemorate might be more personal, such as tracing the service history of a relative, or recording the oral history of someone's memories during wartime.

We invite you to share your personal commemorations with other Australians. Post stories of service. Share photos of how you are commemorating this Anzac Day. Use #AnzacAtHome to connect with others. Follow it to read the personal stories of those who served Australia and their families.

Download our Anzac Day poster

Every year we create a poster to commemorate Anzac Day, along with a student activity sheet. We send copies to schools around Australia. You can download them both:

Play some music

Music is an important part of most commemorative events. It can create strong feelings and evoke memories. We provide:

Watch a dawn service

Broadcast national ceremony

On Anzac Day, the Australian War Memorial runs a dawn service. You'll find details about this year's arrangements on the Australian War Memorial website.

State or territory activities

Your state or territory government or RSL Branch might have planned a private ceremony. These events will not be open to the public.

For example, a private service from the Anzac Memorial in Sydney will be broadcast on ABC and streamed live.

Check local guides to see if any events will be shared on TV or online.

Join in commemorative activities

Look for ideas to commemorate our veterans at home. We've listed a few different ideas here. Check your local guides to see what's on in your area.

Light Up the Dawn

ABC Local Radio is supporting an RSL Australia campaign for Australians to stand in their own driveways or on their balconies at dawn on 25 April 2020. Together, they will:

  • hear The Ode and The Last Post played on the radio
  • share a 1-minute silence together

You can pledge to participate at rslanzacspirit.com.au

#ANZACSpirit

RSL Australia encourages you to record yourself saying the Ode of Remembrance or sharing a message of support for veterans.

To get involved:

  • respond as 'Going' to the RSL's ANZAC Day 2020 Facebook event
  • share how you'll be commemorating privately and who you'll be remembering this Anzac Day
  • use the hashtag #ANZACSpirit

Check on a mate

RSL Australia asks that you contact a mate who might be alone this Anzac Day. It's an opportunity to invoke the Anzac value of mateship and check to see how a friend or family member is feeling.

Open Arms is open 24/7 for veterans or their family members to chat to someone. Call 1800 011 046 or visit www.openarms.gov.au

Help veterans and their families

Donations can support Australian veterans and their families in need.

Find an ex-service organisation

Help maintain official commemorations

Donations to the Office of Australian War Graves support the care of war graves, post-war official commemorations and official memorials.

Support our troops overseas

Send an email to express your support and thoughts to our troops. Emails are very much appreciated by Australian Defence Force members on operations.

Use the address supportthetroops@defence.gov.au

You can also donate to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund. This fund sends care packages to Australian Defence Force members who are away from their families and friends, serving Australia, on Christmas Day and Anzac Day.

A male soldier crouching and looking at a little boy that is standing.

Returning home from war service, Flight Lieutenant AE Graham of Melbourne meets his young son. Graham enlisted in November 1941 under the Empire Air Training Scheme, and returned home in late 1945, taking his discharge in early 1946. (State Library of Victoria Argus newspaper collection image an014702

Involve the kids

Many families have a tradition of attending a service on Anzac Day. This year is different, but you can commemorate with your family at home. Some ideas are:

Take a virtual tour

From the comfort of home, you can use the internet to visit the locations of battles and other places where Australians have served.

Download our:

You can take a virtual tour of:

  • the Western Front in France, where many Australians served in World War I
  • the Burma-Thailand railway and Hellfire Pass where many Australians worked and died as prisoners of war in World War II
  • the Sandakan Death March in Borneo where many Australian prisoners of war died in World War II

You can also experience some of the Gallipoli sites of World War I via our Anzac Walk podcast.

Wartime and service stories

You can learn a lot about the experience of Australians during wartime without leaving home.

View online collections and exhibitions on war memorial and museum websites:

Read defence history and biographies from:

Trace a personal connection

You might find it interesting to research your family's military history. One way to do this is to explore the individual stories of veterans. You might find out when they enlisted and at what age, where they served, and how their service has been commemorated.

To start, you'll need to know some basic details, such as:

  • full name
  • date and place of birth
  • armed service in which they served
  • approximate year of enlistment

Depending on the conflict or operation in which they served, their war service records might be available online or available on request from either the National Archives of Australia or the Department of Defence.

Find research resources at Researching Australians at war.

You can start by asking your family members what they know. See Just Ask for extra help.

Personal journeys

If you know the details of when and where someone served, you can try to follow their service journey by reading:

You can also make a virtual visit to places where they served using products like Google Maps and the ANZAC 360 app, as well as virtual tour websites and apps.

Discover Australia's veteran history

Restore wartime memorabilia

You might own or look after significant material relating to Australia's war heritage. It's important that these items are preserved to provide opportunities for future generations to understand, investigate and value these experiences.

See our book, Memories & Memorabilia.


Last updated: 22 April 2020

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