RSL sub branch makes call on Anzac Day services

THE IPSWICH RSL Sub Branch and Ipswich City Council have announced the city’s main Anzac Day commemorations have been cancelled in a bid to limit the potential spread of coronavirus.

This includes the dawn service, the wreath laying service and the Anzac march through Ipswich.

Ipswich RSL Sub Branch President Rob Wadley said while it was disappointing, it was the best course of action to protect the community and veterans.

“It’s a sensible thing to do. We have a duty of care, not only to our veterans but also to the Ipswich community at large,” he said.

“I know what my hygiene is like, I know where I’ve been, but I can’t tell you about the person standing next to me and that’s what our concern is.

“All the veterans I’ve been speaking to, we’re all in agreement.

“It’s the veterans who are the ones that are going suffer from this because we’re all in that maximum age group which is going to get hit the hardest.”

He said people can still commemorate the day.

“If anybody wishes to lay a wreath they are quite at liberty to come to the honour stone in the Soldiers Memorial Park and just quietly lay a wreath,” he said.

“There will be no ceremony, there will be no gathering, but if they want to drive up, park and come and lay a wreath, they’ve got every right to do that as they have every right to do that any time of the year.”

RSL Queensland President Tony Ferris said RSL Queensland was considering other options for commemorating the anniversary without placing veterans and the general public at risk.

“Anzac Day is an opportunity for Australians to remember all those who have served and sacrificed, and we are pleased that so many Queenslanders recognise its significance more than a century after it was first commemorated,” he said.

“It’s very sad that we are not able to commemorate Anzac Day in time-honoured fashion this year, but a public commemoration is not worth risking the health of our older veterans, family members or members of the general public.

“Regardless of the form this year’s Anzac Day commemorations take, we will always remember the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of our Defence forces, past and present.”