Now that ANZAC Day is behind us and COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions have been eased, I’d like to say how humbled I am as your President at the incredible support and respect shown by the people of Western Australia.
The coming together, yet apart, for the #DrivewayDawnService was truly inspirational and the sheer numbers that turned out places RSLWA in good stead as we now begin to plan for ANZAC Day 2021 and onwards.
As you know, our traditional ANZAC Day commemorations such as the Kings Park Dawn Service, the march through the CBD and Commemorative Service at the Concert Hall were cancelled, in line with advice from the State Government.
And yet, both the community and WA’s leaders took this year’s ANZAC Day theme, Embracing The Spirit Of Mateship, to heart.
Thousands of people across the state and even overseas stood vigil in driveways, on balconies and at farm gates in solemn commemoration, together yet apart.
Our efforts to continue to honour the fallen, those who served and those who continue to serve in these unique times were a resounding success and, quite frankly, your support of the #DrivewayDawnService blew us away.
Let me personally thank a few individuals who helped make this happen:
Firstly, to the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of WA we thank you. Your willingness to take part in our community-service videos and pre-recoded ANZAC Day special was greatly appreciated, as was that of the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds.
And special thanks goes to our WA Premier Mark McGowan, himself a Veteran, who got right behind our ANZAC Day campaign in so many ways.
To the Veterans who agreed to be filmed and interviewed for these videos; those featured in our mateship articles and to those who stepped up to help with the many media requests for talent, RSLWA thanks you all.
To all those men, women, boys and girls who gave up their time to perform special #DrivewayDawnService renditions of The Last Post and Reveille, we thank you.
To the Veterans who turned out and stood in silent vigil at 6am, we are especially proud of you– especially our older Veterans, many of whom were resolutely determined to rise from their beds to honour their fallen mates.
And to those who checked in on their own mates, many of whom did it especially tough on this day, we thank you.
To the many who dug deep in these very tough financial times to support our ANZAC Appeal, we are humbled by your gratitude.
Last but certainly not least, we salute you, the community of Western Australia, for rallying as one to support our Veterans and serving men and women on what proved to be a very special, unique and memorable ANZAC Day.
Peter Aspinall AM