Defence supports a broad range of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day activities both within Australia and around the world.
Anzac Day is the day we remember all Australians who have served and dies in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac continues to have meaning and relevance for our national identity.
Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War (1914-18). Australian’s observe one minute’s silence at 11.00am to honour those who died or suffered in war.
The ADF provided joint Anzac Day support with New Zealand and Turkey at Gallipoli in 2014, 2015 and 2016, with a number of services conducted on the site. Commemorations at Gallipoli consisted of tri-nation Dawn Services at the Anzac Cove Site, followed by mid morning services at the Australian Memorial at Lone Pine and the New Zealand Memorial at Chunuk Bair. In addition, the ADF participated in the Turkish International Service and the Commonwealth Memorial Service at Cape Helles on 24 April 2014.
The ADF provides ceremonial support to four different Anzac Day services in France annually: The First is the Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial. This is followed by services in Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt, conducted by the townspeople both which contain wreath laying and guard elements supported by the ADF. The fourth and final service is the Australian Service at the Digger Memorial. Invited guests will, and the public can also lay wreaths at any of the services.
In addition, during the service on 26 April 2014, Army buried the remains of an unidentified soldier at Pozieres.
Commemorations for the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy landings centred around a French Government D-Day international event for veterans, which was conducted on the afternoon of 6 June 2014.
Record numbers have attended ceremonies at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Day during the Centenary period. In 2015 120,000 people attendied the Dawn Service and a further 31,000 attended the National Ceremony.
Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of ANZAC, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. On Anzac Day, ceremonies are held in towns and cities across the nation to acknowledge the service of our veterans.
Commemoration ceremonies in Belgium were held on Anzac Day 2014, 2015, 2016. A joint activity was conducted in 2014 at the Menin Gate, and was the smallest of the services we contributed to in 2014. It consisted of a Dawn Service at Buttes British Cemetery, a service at Tyne Cot Cemetery, a service at Toronto Avenue Cemetery, finishing with the Last Post service at the Menin Gate. The contingent was supported by a vocalist, catafalque party and a Ceremonial Warrant Officer.
Of note, 2014 was the first time that a separate Australian Federation Guard contingent deployed to Belgium to support Anzac Day activities. The New Zealand Defence Force also deployed a ceremonial contingent to Belgium, resulting in a twofold increase in the quantity and scope of support available for Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium.