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ANZAC Day 2020

Published on Thursday, 30 April 2020 at 2:15:39 PM

On the morning of the 25th April 2020, the community came together in front of their devices in their homes and on their driveways and tuned in to a special ANZAC Day service. This year there could be no public attendance at the Cenotaph due to the COVID-19 restrictions placed on gatherings, but despite the cold, and wet dawn here in Merredin, the Service went on with only two people.

The morning was still, the only noise to be heard the patter of raindrops as they splashed on the pavement below. At 5.58am the stream went live on the Shire of Merredin Facebook page and before long nearly 200 households were watching together online, waiting in silence and looking out at the familiar white crosses and soldier silhouettes.

The clock ticked over to 6.00am and Councillor Mal Willis took the podium. He welcomed and thanked those in attendance, and began, “We are present here at this early hour on this day to honour the memory of those gallant men and women who willingly sacrificed and risked their lives in the fight for the safety and freedom of their beloved homelands of Australia and New Zealand.”

The Service continued as planned, with Councillor Willis laying a wreath on behalf of the Shire of Merredin, and Cummins Theatre Manager Justin Freind also laying wreaths on behalf of Wheatbelt Vietnam Veterans, Hon. Mia Davies MLA, Njaki Njaki Aboriginal Group, St Mary’s School, Merredin College, Merredin Police, Merredin Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service, and St John Ambulance.

The anthems of New Zealand and Australia then echoed loudly through the streets, as those in their driveways, at crossroads, and at home joined proudly in song. The Service concluded moments later at 6.22am, with Councillor Willis signing off by thanking everyone for staying at home and commemorating the ANZACs together. The video was then posted to Facebook and viewed more than 2,800 times by people from all over WA, even reaching Sydney!

Special thanks are extended to the following members of the ANZAC Day working group; Councillor Malcom Willis – Shire of Merredin, Justin Freind – Shire of Merredin, Rob Endersbee– Military Museum and Merredin Cadets, Su Riley – Churches Fraternal, and Aub Tompkin – Wheatbelt Vietnam Veterans.

The Shire of Merredin and ANZAC Day Working Group would also like to thank Jade Healey-Ratima for her beautiful renditions of both the New Zealand and Australian national anthems. It was an emotional performance that made Merredin so incredibly proud!

If you missed the Service, it is still available for viewing on the Shire of Merredin Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShireofMerredin/videos/234267364339407/


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