Posted on April 28, 2020
This year, we experienced an ANZAC Day unlike any other.
Usually, our Cadets provide significant input to services across the Northern Beaches and our families gather to honour and remember those that have served in dawn services held in civic centres, War Memorials and RSL Clubs.
However, in 2020 ANZAC Day was marked in a different and unique way. Right across the Northern Beaches, our School community took part in moving street celebrations at dawn and paused to honour and remember our ANZACs during this difficult time. Our Cadets took part in memorable activities in each of their streets: they proudly donned their full Cadet uniform, stood to attention, marched alongside veterans from their neighbourhood and performed the Last Post and Reveille.
The ANZAC legend is built around mateship, solidarity, integrity, and the facing of adversity. This legend of our ANZACs has transcended time to become a symbol of what we value as Australians. ANZAC Day reminds us that wars are to be avoided, but when necessary, we must stand up for our values. It requires us to reflect on the past with pride, but also to look ahead and build on the achievements of our predecessors. The characteristics of our ANZACs are not unlike the experiences of our healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 today. These frontline workers are showing extraordinary levels of care and compassion, right now, across our nation and internationally.
In 1915 at Gallipoli, there were in excess of 270 doctors serving on the frontline; yet at the start of the Great War in 1914, there were a mere 4 doctors in the regular Australian Army. Those magnificent doctors on ANZAC Beach were required to attend to 1,700 casualties on the first day of the Gallipoli campaign. And 500 of these soldiers needed to be evacuated immediately.
There are countless stories around this devastating battle that have come to frame our time of remembrance.
On ANZAC Day we honour the people of Australia who have served our nation to protect our sovereignty. To these fine Australians we say: ‘be proud of what you have done, as we are proud of you’.
And this year, whilst we remember the heroes of our past, we need also to give thanks and gratitude to the essential workers and healthcare professionals who are at the centre of our modern-day battle; a silent and invisible global enemy.
Lest We Forget.
Dr Nancy Hillier
Pittwater House Schools