The courage it takes to serve your country will be honoured during the Maroochy RSL ANZAC Day commemorations as thousands of Sunshine Coast residents are expected to pay tribute to current serving personnel and veterans on Sunday 25 April at the Cenotaph in Cotton Tree.
Maroochy RSL President and veteran himself, Michael Liddelow said as ANZAC Day events were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s events would be particularly special for the community to come together and pay their respects.
“ANZAC Day is an emotional and reflective day where we stop to honour those who fought for our country — and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice — which in turn, provided us with the many freedoms we enjoy today,” Mr Liddelow said.
“With nearly 5,000 veterans living on the Sunshine Coast — ranging in age from in their twenties to 100 years old — this day is a great opportunity to show them the unwavering support and gratitude they have from their community.
“And it is not only our veterans who are recognised on ANZAC Day, but also the great contribution our existing serving personnel have made, and are continuing to make to our country every day.”
One veteran who will attend this year’s commemorations is Maroochydore local, 29-year-old Scott Gray who served in the Australian Army for eight years including an assignment in Afghanistan in 2018.
“To me, ANZAC Day is a proud day. A day where we can gather together to remember and pay our respects to those that fought and made sacrifices for our country – in particular, those that didn’t come home,” Mr Gray said.
“My hope is, in particular after the cancellation of ANZAC Day services in 2020, that the acknowledgement of the importance of the day can once again increase and the numbers of those attending the services can increase too.
“All those who have served, and continue to serve, put everything on the line day in and day out and ANZAC Day allows us the opportunity to acknowledge that.
“I would like to see the awareness of, and the importance of ANZAC Day to continue throughout the generations.”
The Maroochy RSL dawn service will commence at 4:28am at the Cotton Tree Cenotaph. The march will commence at 8:30am in front of Maroochy RSL and finish at the Cotton Tree Cenotaph in time for the main service at 9:00am.
Maroochy RSL is also hosting a special ticketed event for veterans and their families from 5am, which includes a Gunfire Breakfast and Morning Tea followed by the traditional Two-Up and Crown and Anchor from 11am. The general public is invited to join them at Maroochy RSL from 1pm.
“Our services are steeped in tradition and once the commemorations have finished, we encourage our community to join in for a traditional game of Two-Up,” Mr Liddelow said.
“This game was played by Australian soldiers during the First and Second World Wars and this is the only day of the year that we can play the game at Maroochy RSL.”
While there are no restrictions on the attendance numbers at the two Cenotaph services, attendees are encouraged to social distance and maintain safe hygiene practices.
Mr Liddelow said while Maroochy RSL expects a large crowd to attend the public events, he understands some people will still prefer to avoid larger gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns.
“There are many ways to honour the ANZACs as we saw during the COVID-19 lockdown last year when many chose to ‘Light Up The Dawn’ in their driveways, balconies or homes to pay their respects,” Mr Liddelow said.
“We encourage all of our community to participate in whatever way suits them best.”
The 2021 ANZAC Day commemorations will also recognise the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force, which has played a significant role in conflict and peace missions around the world.”
For more information, visit www.maroochyrsl.com.au. The Maroochy RSL ANZAC Day Event is for veterans and their families only and tickets are available for purchase from Maroochy RSL.