By Carla MacRitchie
Anzac Day, 25th April is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It is a day to commemorate the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli, Turkey. It is also a day where as a nation we can come together in spirit, to commemorate the men and women who have served or continue to serve our nation in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
Memories and connections
I have many warm memories of being woken up early to attend a dawn service. Standing alongside the road, watching as soldiers marched by. A sea of coloured uniforms, red poppies and shiny medals adorning these proud soldiers. As I watched their faces I saw a mixture of sadness and pride as they marched and remembered friends that they may have lost. As I reflect on these memories, the laying of the wreaths and the sound of the Last Post, it all floods back. I feel very connected and sentimental about Anzac Day. You may have a personal connection, a family member or grandparent who has served in the war. Anzac Day is a time where we can honour our loved ones and share their stories proudly. Stories of friendships forged, sacrifices made and the courage of those who serve their country.
We shall remember them
How can we keep the spirit of Anzac Day alive with our children? This can be a tricky topic to navigate, as with most topics it’s best to be as honest as possible with children, while giving them simple and age appropriate information.
- Talk about the freedom we have and how we feel safe because of the sacrifice that others have made
- Talk about how we are all connected and the importance of kindness and caring for one another
- Support children as they ask questions, and guide them to answers
- Share a moment’s silence to honour those who sacrificed and served their country so that we can have freedom.
- Attend your local dawn service, so children have an authentic understanding of the significance of ANZAC Day. Be part of the laying of a wreath, and discuss traditions such as the Last Post and the Ode of Remembrance.
- Share stories of your own family’s experience and connections to ANZAC Day
- Visit war memorials and explain their significance, what they stand for, how we remember each soldier by name and honour their service.
- Create poppies with children or lanterns with poppies
- Talk about the Rosemary sprig as an aromatic herb that grows wildly all over Gallipoli and is a symbolic reminder of the landing. Share this, perhaps you could make Rosemary playdough
- Bake Anzac biscuits with the children and share with the family.
Books and Anzac Day
Books are a wonderful way to help children to understand the significance of Anzac Day and stories give context and add meaning. Here are some books you might like to share with your children. You can also find these online, read aloud or as short video stories.
Anzac Ted- by Belinda Lansberry
Anzac Ted is the powerful, poignant story of a little boy’s teddy bear that was passed down to him from his grandfather. Battered, torn, missing an eye and an ear, he might look scary but he’s got a great story to tell. For Anzac Ted went to war, keeping soldiers company and giving them comfort.
My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day- by Catriona Hay
This picture book is a fantastic introduction to the smallest of children to ANZAC Day and the honouring of soldiers who went and served in different wars for our country. Told by a young girl as she awakes early to attend the dawn service where her grandfather marches each year.
Lest we forget- by Kerry Browns
This bestselling picture book about a boy and his grandfather will help even the very young understand the significance of Anzac Day.
Another important part of Anzac Day and a way that we can show our support to deployed troops is through care packages. These can have a huge impact and be a morale booster to those serving who are away from their family.
Every year, Australia Post delivers care packages to our deployed troops
This year’s Support the Troops Anzac Day mailing window is:
Monday 22 March to Friday 2 April 2021.
The postal address is:
An Australian Defence Member
Australian Defence Force NSW 2890
Care packages could include items such as:
- Anzac and other biscuits and lollies
- Toiletries, deodorant(non-aerosol), shower gel, lip balm
- Coffee, tea bags
- Easter eggs
“Postcards to the Troops.”
Postcards to the Troops – are popular among children who put in great effort to decorate and design their cards. The troops appreciate the messages of goodwill and proudly display the children’s artwork.
Postcards to the troops can be sent to:
Messages to the Troops
39th Operational Support Battalion
Locked Bag 7005
Liverpool NSW 1871
Anzac Day, a significant day in our Nation.
We will Remember Them.