The New Zealand Defence Force and the RSA are encouraging everyone to take part in a unique Dawn Service this Anzac Day – standing together as a nation this Saturday, while in our bubbles.
The #StandAtDawn campaign was born of the cancellation of traditional Anzac Day services as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It calls for Kiwis worldwide to stand at their letterbox, front door, balcony, or essential place of work at 6am on April 25 to take a moment to remember the sacrifice of others in service of their country.
This unified sign in these difficult times will be supported by other activities, both online and at home, in the days leading up to Anzac Day and aims to create a way for communities to come together in a new way.
In Tamahere, plans are underway in some roads for locals to decorate their letterboxes with wreaths, poppies and whatever other creative way they can dream up.
The StandAtDawn website suggests people tune into Radio NZ National (AM & FM frequencies), listen live on the internet or on a phone (download app here) for the official dawn service broadcast commencing at 6am on Saturday. Veterans or their descendants are encouraged to wear their medals just as they would for the official public gathering.
The Dawn Service includes the the Last Post, the Ode of Remembrance in Te Reo Maori and English, and National Anthems.
People taking part in StandAtDawn are encouraged to take a photo or a video clip and post to social media with the tags #StandAtDawn #AnzacDay @RSANational @NZDefenceForce
The RSA, unable to provide the traditional RSA Poppy to wear this year, due to the lockdown restrictions, has created a ‘virtual poppy’ for social media profiles. The organisation that supports veterans asks that you donate at this Givealittle page to assist current and former serving personnel and their families. Then download your profile frame and show your support.
Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said Anzac Day was an important day of commemoration for many New Zealanders, particularly for serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.
“Anzac Day is a day for remembering service and sacrifice in conflict, and the strength that comes from working together to overcome adversity,” he said.
“This year, more than ever, we need to draw on the many qualities that the enduring Anzac spirit has taught us; mateship, endurance, good humour, ingenuity and courage.”
He encouraged veterans, service personnel, families and the wider public to engage with the StandAtDawn campaign.
RSA National President B J Clark said Anzac Day was one of the most important national occasions for New Zealanders and Australians.
“Even though public Anzac services are unable to go ahead, it does not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating our veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too.”
It is hoped Kiwis will use the time leading up to Anzac Day to create, reflect and learn more about New Zealand’s military history by using a range of resources, including the WW100 centenary website, and creative interpretation.
Families can share photos of decorated letterboxes or front windows, Anzac biscuit baking, creating poppy wreaths or drawings.
It is also hoped that Kiwis use this time to research their family’s military history and share stories of those who have served, using the #StandAtDawn hashtag.
More details on how to get involved can be found at www.standatdawn.com