Mackay veterans advocate George Newton will watch the Anzac Day service on TV. Picture: Tony Martin
Mackay veterans advocate George Newton will watch the Anzac Day service on TV. Picture: Tony Martin

Restrictions will not change the meaning of Anzac Day

DESPITE Covid-19 radically changing this year’s Anzac Day, the region’s RSL branches have embraced another way to commemorate.

Coronavirus claims Mackay Anzac Day commemorations

There will be no traditional Dawn Service or Jubilee Park commemorative service and march in Mackay nor throughout the district.

Instead, RSL Queensland is encouraging community members to take part in Light up the Dawn from their driveways.

They were encouraged to light a candle and observe a minute’s silence in respect of the fallen, RSL Sarina sub-branch Ron Gurnett said.

“They can also go individually and lay a wreath at the monument,” Mr Gurnett said.

“I’ll be going to put the flags up at the monument sometime during the day as this year will be very different.”

Vietnam War veteran and Department of Veteran Affairs advocate George Newton said it would be a day to reflect and remember “on the meaning of Anzac Day for both war veterans and ordinary Australians”.

“I will be getting up before dawn to watch the sun rise and mark a few minutes of silence in memory of my fallen comrades and other men who gave their lives during the various wars,” Mr Newton said.

The 69 year old emigrated from Yorkshire in the UK to Australia in 1966 before joining the Australian Army in 1969.

He was sent to Vietnam in June 1970 and was deployed there for almost a year.

During that time he took part in many engagements with the communist Vietcong and was shot at numerous times.

Mr Newton believes Anzac Day’s values set an example for the next generation of Australians.

“We have a unique country that is a democracy with the associated freedoms,” he said.

“The younger generation should appreciate the sacrifices made by previous generations to make Australia the country it is today,” he said

Mr Newton also plans to watch the commemorative service on TV before spending the day talking to his veteran mates and helping to counsel those who are still paying the emotional price of fighting all those years ago.


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