Warwick Anzac Day Memorial Service 2018. Picture: Marian Faa / Warwick Daily News
Warwick Anzac Day Memorial Service 2018. Picture: Marian Faa / Warwick Daily News

Warwick veterans welcome Anzac Day ceremonies’ return

War veterans and their families across the Southern Downs have expressed their delight at the announcement traditional Anzac Day ceremonies will return this year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed Tuesday morning that commemorations across Queensland would proceed as normal, with no caps on numbers at public events.

After Rose City residents marked the day with ‘Light the Dawn’ driveway services during the pandemic last year, Warwick RSL sub-branch president John Skinner said a return to usual commemorations would be “a great comeback”.

“Our Dawn Services pre-COVID were becoming some of the largest we’d ever seen in Warwick, and the parade to the cenotaph precinct was massive, with between 600 to 1000 school students marching,” he said.

“I know a lot of veterans come from further away because they see Warwick as having traditional Anzac Day services.

Former Mayor Tracy Dobie (Southern Downs Regional Council), Warwick RSL Sub-branch president John Skinner and Brigadier Duncan Hawyard walk to the cenotaph on Remembrance Day 2019. Picture: Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News
Former Mayor Tracy Dobie (Southern Downs Regional Council), Warwick RSL Sub-branch president John Skinner and Brigadier Duncan Hawyard walk to the cenotaph on Remembrance Day 2019. Picture: Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News

“I was still just overawed by the public participation (at last year’s driveway service), and the fact that people in the country were doing it when they knew no one would see them.”

With plans to line up their full Anzac Day program and make any necessary last-minute changes, Mr Skinner was most looking forward to reinstating the popular “fade away” service.

“It’s about passing on our history to the younger generation, and it’s one of the most special parts of the day,” he said.

“It seems to be unique to Warwick, I haven’t seen it anywhere else and no one I’ve spoken to has either. It’s not only special to the veterans, it’s special to the younger generation too.”

Stanthorpe RSL sub-branch president Martin Corbett was eager to hear the outcome of the region’s joint meeting with Southern Downs Regional Council before locking in plans.

“At the end of the day, it’s a day that all the veterans, no matter which era they belong to, all look forward to, because this is our day to remember our fallen comrades,” Mr Corbett said.

“It’s also to remember those who have come back with disabilities, to remember everybody, and for the whole nation to celebrate what our veterans have done.”

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