By Danielle Kutchel
Veterans and their families will pause to remember and reflect this Anzac Day at a number of memorial events across the region.
After 2020’s Anzac Day was marred by Covid, this year local RSLs are looking forward to being able to mark the occasion in person – albeit in reduced numbers to adhere to ongoing Covid restrictions.
Across Casey, all local events have been replaced with smaller, private ticketed events, with invitations being extended to RSL members, veterans and their families.
Dawn services will take place at the Cranbourne RSL, Pearcedale Public Hall and Bunjil Place along with morning services at the Cranbourne RSL and Berwick High Street.
While the broader public cannot attend these events, Casey residents are encouraged to pay their respects or lay a wreath at another time of the day at their local cenotaph.
Berwick RSL secretary Chris McKenna confirmed that there will not be a march or public service in Berwick this year.
However, he said that the small private service that will be held instead was better than nothing.
“Better a service than no service,” he said.
“The fact we’re going to do something is really pleasing.”
The event at Bunjil Place will be capped at 180 invited attendees.
Berwick RSL will also hold a small service before the Beaconsfield v Narre Warren game at Holm Park Reserve on Saturday 24 April.
Additionally there will be a small memorial service on Sunday 25 April at the Beaconsfield Cenotaph, organised by the Beaconsfield Progress Association.
Over in Cranbourne, invite-only services will be held at the Cranbourne RSL at 6am and 11am.
Cranbourne RSL Manager Donna Lester said serving members, their carers and family could call the RSL to determine whether they are able to attend.
“We would prefer a full service, but we can’t go two years with no service at all so it feels somewhat better to be having a service,” she said.
“At least we are doing something for the most important people.”
RSL Victoria is encouraging Victorians who are unable to attend a service to ‘Light Up the Dawn’ by acknowledging Anzac Day at the end of their driveways, as was done last year.
The Melbourne Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance will be televised again and broadcast on ABC Radio Melbourne, so that families can listen as they pause to remember in the dawn.
City of Casey chair of administrators Noelene Duff encouraged the Casey community to commemorate the occasion from their homes and continue to unite as one.
“Despite not being able to get together again this year, it’s still extremely important that we honour those who have served, and continue to serve our wonderful country,” Ms Duff said.
“I urge you to get your family together this ANZAC Day and stand on your driveway or balcony at 6.00 am on Sunday 25 April, to observe a minute of silence and listen to the Ode.”
For more information on the Light up The Dawn movement or other ways that you and your family can acknowledge Anzac Day, visit the Light up The Dawn website.