Comment: The ANZAC Legacy

The Dawn Service observed on ANZAC Day has its origins in a military routine which is still followed by the Australian Army today. During battle, the half-light of dawn was one of the most favoured times for an attack. Soldiers in defensive positions were woken in the dark before dawn, so by the time first light crept across the battlefield they were awake, alert, and manning their weapons; this is still known as the “stand-to”. As dusk is equally favourable for attacks, the stand-to was repeated at sunset.
After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they had felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn. A dawn vigil, recalling the wartime front line practice of the dawn ‘stand-to’, became the basis of a form of commemoration in several places after the war. There are claims that a dawn requiem mass was held at Albany on 25 April 1918, and a wreath laying and commemoration took place at dawn in Toowoomba the following year. In 1927 a group of returned men, returning from an ANZAC function held the night before, came upon an elderly woman laying flowers at the as yet unfinished Sydney Cenotaph. Joining her in this private remembrance, the men later resolved to institute a dawn service the following year. Thus in 1928 150 people gathered at the Cenotaph to for a wreath laying and two minutes silence. This is generally regarded as the beginning of organised dawn services. Over the years the ceremonies have developed into their modern form and also seen an increased association with the dawn landings on 25 April 1915.
Today dawn services include the presence of a chaplain, but not the presence of dignitaries such as the governor general. They were originally very simple and followed the military routine. In many cases, attendance at the dawn service was restricted to veterans, while the daytime ceremony was for families and other well-wishers. Before dawn, the gathered veterans would be ordered to “stand to” and two minutes’ silence would follow. At the end of this time a lone bugler would play the Last Post and then conclude the service with Reveille, the bugler’s call to wake up.
In more recent times families and young people have been encouraged to take part in dawn services, and services in Australian capital cities have seen some of the largest turnouts ever. Reflecting this change, those services have become more elaborate, incorporating hymns, readings, pipers, and rifle volleys. Other services, though, have retained the simple format of the dawn stand-to, familiar to so many soldiers.
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.

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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 18:39

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 18:39

The good Lord was creating a model for military wives and was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared. She said, "Lord, you seem to be having a lot of trouble with this one."

The Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be completely independent, possess the qualities of both father and mother, be a perfect hostess to four or forty with an hour's notice, run on black coffee, handle every emergency possible without a manual, be able to carry on cheerfully, even if she is pregnant and has the flu, and she must be willing to move to a new location ten times in seventeen years. And oh, yes, she must have six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head. "Six pairs of hands? No way."

The Lord continued, "Don't worry, we will make other military wives to help her. And we will give her an unusually strong heart so it can swell with pride in her husband's achievements, sustain the pain of separations, beat soundly when it is tired and overworked, and be large enough to say, `I understand,' when she doesn't and say, `I love you,' regardless."

"Lord," said the angel, touching his arm gently, "go to bed. You can finish this tomorrow."

"I can't stop this now," said the Lord. "I am so close to creating something unique. Already this model heals herself when she is sick, can put up with six unexpected guests for the weekend, can wave goodbye to her husband from a pier, a runway, or a depot, and can understand why it is important that he leave."

The angel circled the model of the military wife, looked at it closely, and sighed. "It looks fine, but it's too soft."

"She might look soft," replied the Lord, "but she has the strength of a lion. You would not believe what she can endure."

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Lord's creation. "There's a leak," she announced. "Something is wrong with the construction. I am not surprised that it has cracked. You are trying to put too much into this model."

The Lord appeared offended at the angel's lack of confidence. "What you see is not a leak," He said. "It's a tear."

"A tear? What's it there for? asked the angel.

The Lord replied, "It's for joy, sadness, pain, disappointment, loneliness, pride, and a dedication to the values that she and her husband hold dear."

"You're a genius!" exclaimed the angel.

"The Lord looked puzzled and replied, "I didn't put it there."
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.

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AnswerID: 509684

Reply By: Member Bushy 04(VIC) - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 08:42

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 08:42
Remember those who went before you both in and out of the service, many paid the price for what we have today.
Today was special for me as my daughter wore her grandfathers medals to the dawn service.
She works in defence and is finally seeing why we come together as service men and women.
God bless them all .

AnswerID: 509712

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:22

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:22
Sir Kev,
Many thanks for your dissertation about the Anzac Legacy. I better understand the Dawn Service now. I would prefer that the service retained the simple format of the dawn stand-to, but it is not my ceremony to prevail. May God bless all those who served.

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Reply By: KenInPerth - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 11:06

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 11:06
My Dad came home from the war. Many didn't.

I hope we do not see the remembrance of them and tributes to them ever fade.

AnswerID: 509734

Reply By: howesy - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 19:14

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 19:14
The poppy is the Anzac day flower and always has been and is common practice in wreaths but why the sudden push to wear a poppy when a sprig of rosemary has always been worn and is the symbol of Remembrance worn also on Rememberence Day,,,,,do we want to celebrate the holiday now and not display symbols of rememberence,,,,,,,just a thought, I was having poppies pushed at me all day,,I kept wearing my sprig
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