Join a local virtual Anzac Day service
ON ANZAC Day last year, thousands flocked to the RSL Memorial Park in Ballina to commemorate the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli.
This year, the cenotaph will stand alone, as social-distancing measures continue to keep Australians cooped up in their homes.
The dawn service and breakfast, pilgrimage to the cemetery, River St march, and commemoration service and wreath-laying ceremony have all been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic - but ANZAC Day 2020 will persevere.
Ballina RSL Sub-Branch and Paradise FM have teamed up to provide locals with a remote, but nonetheless powerful, dawn and commemoration service.
At 5.55am, Ballina locals are encouraged to stand out in their driveways or in front of their residence, as part of a national campaign, and tune into Paradise FM 101.9 for a Dawn Service.
The RSL has suggested that service 'attendees' could hold a candle or flower of tribute or place a wreath on their front door.
Reveille will sound at 6am - which will be the Ballina Fire Station siren - and the dawn service will commence.
"I thought it would be better if people used their radios and had the reveille, the last post, and the timed minute of silence synchronised," said Ballina RSL Sub-Branch President Dick Wills.
"If people were outside, and that was synchronised, it would have much more of an effect.
"The usual atmosphere is one of solemn remembrance, and then, after the service, it extends into one of camaraderie and friendship."
"Last year during the dawn service, the quiet moments, particularly when we turned to face the rising sun, was very much a moment of honour.
"A lot of people commented, including the mayor, about how personal it was at that time.
"For the most significant moments of the dawn service, that being the ode, the last post, the minute of silence and the reveille, I think the mood this year will be very much the same."
An abridged commemoration service will begin at 11.30am, opening with the prologue by Mr Wills.
To close the service, Paradise FM 101.9 will play an hour of music and songs selected from eras of wars and conflicts.
"The people who are out on the street, they won't congregate, but they'll certainly wave, talk from a distance, and acknowledge each other," said Mr Wills.
"And that, in itself, is symbolic of what the day is to the Australian population."
The timetable for the Ballina Anzac Day virtual services is available at the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch website.
- As this year is an Anzac Day like no other, The Northern Star will be creating a virtual Anzac Day parade for Saturday's paper and online. We ask readers to send a photo of themselves holding a photo of a relative who served the country. Email your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or upload them to the Northern Star Facebook page.