Symbols of Commemoration digibook


Commemoration means different things to different people. We can't describe everyone's experiences but here's a snapshot of commemoration in Australia. In Chapter 1 you'll meet different characters from the book Here They Come who reflect on what Anzac Day means to them. Then we'll explore 8 common symbols of commemoration you might see on Anzac Day or Remembrance Day.

Here They Come—A Day to Remember

Take a look at Anzac Day through the eyes of different characters who live in Australia. In this video, you'll spot many symbols of commemoration. A symbol is an image or object that sends a message about an idea.


Poppies are red flowers that symbolise commemoration. Poppies grew on the battlefields of Belgium and France in World War I. Many Australian soldiers died there during the war. The poppy sends a message about remembering people who have died in wars.

Do you have a local memorial where you could place a red poppy?


Memorials like cenotaphs can be found in many Australian towns. They record the names of veterans who served or died during a war. Communities often gather near their local war memorial for a dawn service on Anzac Day.

Have you ever seen a memorial like this?


Medals are an official symbol of a person's military service. They can show where a person served and any bravery awards they received. Veterans wear medals on the left side of their chest during a ceremony or march. A family member of someone who served may wear their medals on the right-hand side.

Have you seen someone wearing medals on Anzac Day?


Wreaths are circles of woven flowers and leaves. They help us to honour and remember people who have died in war. We lay wreaths at memorials on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. We hold a wreath in 2 hands and gently place it at a memorial.

Who would you think about if you were laying a wreath at a memorial?

Bugles - The Last Post

Bugles were played in wars to send instructions to soldiers during a battle. A tune called The Last Post marked the end of the day when the soldiers were resting. At a commemorative service, we hear a bugle play The Last Post just before the minute's silence. Hearing it reminds us that those who died in the war are at peace.

Have you ever tried to play a bugle?

Flags at Half-Mast

Flags flown at half-mast means that we are remembering someone who has died. Before an Anzac Day ceremony begins, the Australian flag is lowered half-way down the pole. During the ceremony, the bugle plays a tune called The Rouse and the flag is raised to the top again.

Have you ever seen a flag flying at half-mast?


Rosemary is an edible herb with a strong smell. On Anzac Day, we can wear a sprig of rosemary on our clothes. Rosemary grows in the wild on Gallipoli, in Turkey. Many Australian soldiers died there in World War I. Rosemary helps us to remember Australians who served and died in wars.

Do you have rosemary growing in your garden?

Honour Rolls

Honour rolls record the people from a community who served during a war. Many wooden boards mark the names of those who died with a cross. Some boards only include the names of the war dead. A community makes an honour roll to recognise the service of veterans and remember those who have died.

Have you ever seen wooden boards like these?


We began using many symbols of commemoration after the First World War. Now they help us to remember everyone who has served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. We especially remember all those people who lost their lives.

Next Anzac Day, see how many symbols of commemoration you can spot.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9

Symbols of Commemoration digibook is designed to help students in lower primary develop an understanding of commemoration.

The book explores some common symbols of commemoration that have become a tradition in Australia.

The book and its supporting educational materials align with the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS).

Read the book Here They Come-A day to remember or watch the animated video in Chapter 1 to see these symbols as part of a commemorative service.

Use it to support learning activities leading up to the commemoration of Anzac Day or Remembrance Day in your local community.

Curriculum notes

Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences Literacy - Foundation, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3

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