As we approach Anzac Day on April 25, you may be wondering how to commemorate this important day with your family.
While the current restrictions mean that we are unable to gather for dawn service, there are still plenty of ways you can reflect on the sacrifices made by those brave men and women who served to protect us all.
We’ve pulled together ten ways to honour Anzac Day within the confines of your own household.
1. Hold a dawn service from your driveway
While we are unable to gather for a traditional dawn service as a community, that doesn’t mean you can’t partake in a dawn service from home. You could watch the live stream of the dawn service on TV or online—or better yet, you could host your own service out the front of your home.
This year, RSL Clubs from across the country are calling Australians to host a dawn service at home. At 5.55 am on 25 April, light a candle and stand at the end of your driveway or balcony. Then, at 6 am, have a minute’s silence to reflect on the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of the brave service men and women, both past and present.
Not only is this an easy way to commemorate Anzac Day as a family, but as a community, this sends a powerful message of solidarity to members of the Australian Defence Force.
If you have a musician in the family, you could also consider playing ‘The Last Post’. You can download sheet music and rehearse with information provided at MusicforMateship.org.
2. Decorate your letterbox or windows
This time at home provides the perfect excuse to dive into a craft activity with the family. So, why not consider decorating your letterbox or front windows?
You could use handcrafted poppies or paintings stuck in the front window for people passing by to enjoy. You could also consider using chalk to draw pictures of poppies on the front footpath.
People walking past will love seeing the Anzac spirit coming to life in their neighbourhood. Not only is this a great way to keep the family occupied, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to talk to the kids about the meaning of Anzac Day as we approach April 25.
3. Make a wreath
Floral wreaths are traditionally laid down to remember those who have given their lives for us. Usually, the wreaths laid down on Anzac Day include Laurel (also known as Bay Leaf), Rosemary or Poppies, which symbolise honour and remembrance.
You can make your own wreath using egg cartons and paint. All you’ll need is an egg carton, a paper plate, red and black paint and glue. You can follow all the steps at this blog post. If you don’t have any egg cartons laying around, RSL Queensland has recently published a blog post with instructions on how to create your own DIY wreath using paper and paint.
Alternatively, if you have a Rosemary bush or a Bay Leaf tree in your garden, you could try creating your own rosemary or laurel wreath.
4. Make Crepe Paper Poppies
At the Australian War Memorial, people who visit the Roll of Honour adorn the panels with Red Poppies as a tribute to the memory of the thousands of people listed on the roll.
The Red Poppy is an international symbol of war remembrance, so it’s only appropriate to commemorate Anzac Day by creating your own paper Poppies.
The Australian War Memorial has a DIY Poppy Template you can download and print at home. All you will need is some red crepe paper, black paper, a pipe cleaner and basic craft supplies such as scissors, paper, a pencil and glue.
If you’re after a more challenging craft activity, you could also try your hand at these DIY Paper Poppies by Lia Griffith, or these large-scale wall Poppied by House Lars Built.
5. Hold your own gunfire breakfast at home
After dawn service has finished, it is customary to follow with a traditional ‘gunfire breakfast’. This tradition comes from the soldier’s early cup of tea, which they drank before going on their first parade for the day—often with a dash of rum for some ‘liquid courage’.
Today, the gunfire breakfast has evolved to entail a traditional breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages and baked beans. Why not host your own gunfire breakfast at home?
6. Read a kids’ book about Anzac Day
A book provides an easy way to communicate the meaning of Anzac Day to little ones through the power of storytelling. There are a number of free e-books available for download on the Australian War Memorial website.
If you’d prefer a hard copy book, Dymocks offers a range of Anzac-themed kids’ books on their online store, such as ‘Anzac Ted’—an unforgettable story of a teddy bear who went to war and returned an unsung hero, as well as ‘The Anzac Puppy’—a story about the reality of war, hardship, friendship and love.
7. Listen to Anzac-inspired songs
Reflect on Anzac Day by listening to music inspired by the wartime and the sacrifices made by the incredible soldiers who fought in the war. These songs tell stories of our heroes and embody the courageous spirit of the Anzacs.
Songs to take a listen to include:
- I Was Only 19 by Redgum
- Spirit of the Anzacs by Lee Kernaghan
- To my Fellow Man by Lugh Damen
- The Anzac by Adam Brand
- I am Australian by The Seekers
- On Every Anzac Day by John Schumann
8. Practice writing an Anzac-inspired poem
Poems have been used to tell the stories of Anzac heroes for decades. Perhaps the most famous poem of all is ‘For the Fallen’ by English poet and writer, Laurence Binyon. In the fourth stanza you’ll find the ‘The Ode’, a section of the poem used to commemorate Anzac soldiers in Australia;
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
we will remember them.”
The lead up to Anzac Day is the perfect time for kids to put their creativity to the test, while reflecting on the incredible sacrifice of our service men and women.
If you need a little inspiration, you could take a look at the poems other people have written by visiting the showcase page on Australian War Memorial’s website.
9. Bake Anzac Biscuits
Anzac Day just wouldn’t be Anzac Day without a freshly baked batch of Anzac biscuits. The recipe is super easy to follow, and the results are seriously delectable! Even if you don’t fancy yourself as a baking extraordinaire, why not give it a go and make your own batch?
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 125g butter
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
And here’s what to do:
- Preheat oven to 160°C and line two baking trays with non-stick paper.
- Sift flour into a large bowl then stir in rolled oats, coconut and brown sugar.
- Place butter, golden syrup and water into a saucepan. Stir while on medium heat until melted then add bicarbonate soda.
- Pour butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
- Roll mixture into balls then place on tray and press with fork to flatten slightly.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Explore Your Local War Memorials Online
Did you know you can explore your local war memorials without leaving your home?
‘Places of Pride’ is a website created by the Australian War Memorial, which aims to record the location and photos of every war memorial across the country.
You can head to the website to browse war memorials near you at: https://placesofpride.awm.gov.au/
You can also take a peek into sections of the Australian War Memorial. Simply visit their website for all the details.