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DAWN SERVICE

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From Dawn to dusk

Dawn Service

The Dawn Service is one of the most popular observances of ANZAC Day. It is timed to coincide with the initial landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. The time is also poignant for veterans who recall the routine dawn “stand-to” of their war service. The darkness breaking into sunrise adds to the symbolism of the occasion and makes for an emotional experience. A typical observance includes a parade, the sounding of Last Post and Reveille, a minute's silence, the ANZAC Dedication, and Laurence Binyon's famous lines:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning.
We will remember them.

And in the morning ... The Dawn Service becomes more popular each year The Dawn Parade of massed bands, veterans and Defence Force personnel makes for a spectacular beginning to the observance. Mark of Respect The tradition of soldiers reversing and resting on arms as a mark of respect or mourning has been observed for centuries. The young soldier is also a reminder that those veterans attending and those remembered on war memorials were once young.

The Dawn Service becomes more popular each year, especially with families and children. The dawn light makes this observance one of the most emotional and compelling of the day.

The Dawn Parade of massed bands, veterans and Defence Force personnel makes for a spectacular beginning to the observance.

The tradition of soldiers reversing and resting on arms as a mark of respect or mourning has been observed for centuries. The young soldier is also a reminder that those veterans attending and those remembered on war memorials were once young.

Remembrance The Dawn Service is of special significance to veterans as they remember past comrades.

As the dawn breaks ... The observance ends in the early morning light of a new day and those attending often express an overwhelming sense of fulfilment that they have made the commitment to attend this special remembrance observance. ANZAC Day brings New Zealanders together.

Remembrance

The Dawn Service is of special significance to veterans as they remember past comrades.

As the dawn breaks ...

The observance ends in the early morning light of a new dayand those attending often express an overwhelming sense of fulfilment that they have made the commitment to attend this special remembrance observance. ANZAC Day brings New Zealanders together.

Coffee, Tea and an ANZAC bickie

After the Dawn Service, it is off to a function or breakfast traditionally hosted by RSAs in clubrooms, halls or marae. All are welcome to attend and warm-up with a hot drink, perhaps even try a traditional “rum and coffee”, and enjoy an ANZAC biscuit. It is most of all a time to relax and reminisce. Stories and laughter have replaced the hymns and hushed voices of the Dawn Service. It is a family atmosphere with many generations present: the veterans, of course, but also their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. But we cannot stay to long because there is the Wreath-Laying Service to attend ...

Rum & Coffee Rum was traditionally rationed out before attack to steady the nerves. “Rum and Coffee” is one of the much-loved traditions of ANZAC Day. Of course, there is always “straight” coffee and tea, as well as milk for the young, and everyone can enjoy a traditional ANZAC Biscuit. Old Traditions, New Recruits Taking part in an old tradition: “rum & coffee”. Defence Force personnel play a prominent part in the day’s formal and informal gatherings – ANZAC Day is also an opportunity to commemorate their service. Recalling It is a time for old comrades to reunite and recall good times.

Rum & Coffee

Rum was traditionally rationed out before attack to steady the nerves. “Rum and Coffee” is one of the much-loved traditions of ANZAC Day. Of course, there is always “straight” coffee and tea, as well as milk for the young, and everyone can enjoy a traditional ANZAC Biscuit.

Old Traditions, New Recruits

Taking part in an old tradition: “rum & coffee”. Defence Force personnel play a prominent part in the day’s formal and informal gatherings – ANZAC Day is also an opportunity to commemorate their service.

Recalling

It is a time for old comrades to reunite and recall good times.

Families & Friends ANZAC Day gatherings are not only for veterans and service personnel but everyone. In fact, babies, children, teenagers and young people – the grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews of veterans – are the faces of the modern observance. A New Generation ANZAC Day is a family occasion.

Families & Friends

ANZAC Day gatherings are not only for veterans and service personnel but everyone. In fact, babies, children, teenagers and young people – the grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews of veterans – are the faces of the modern observance.

A New Generation

ANZAC Day is a family occasion.

Wreath-Laying Service

This is the most traditional of the services and many of its elements date back to the first ANZAC Day services in 1916: the parade, the sounding of Last Post and Reveille, a Minute’s Silence, the hymns, and an Address. Above all, the service provides the occasion to lay wreaths in memory of all New Zealanders who have served and died in past wars and conflicts. After the formal wreaths, families lay their personal tributes. The Poppy — the international symbol of remembrance – makes an appropriate tribute. The floral wreaths transform the thousands of war memorials throughout New Zealand into “living memorials” — a visual reminder that New Zealanders continue to remember.

The Parade War veterans, ex-service and serving personnel, cadets and youth organisations, together with massed bands, march to the war memorial. For veterans and ex-service personnel the physical act of marching has special significance as it rekindles the marches and the esprit de corps of their service years. Tribute Wreaths are laid in honour of the war dead by representatives of veterans’ organisations, nations, civic authorities, and youth organisations. Families also lay personal tributes. Wreaths are poignant symbols of mourning and remembrance. Future Children and young people play an important role on ANZAC Day as they represent the means of fulfilling the eternal pledge: “We will remember them”.

The Parade

War veterans, ex-service and serving personnel, cadets and youth organisations, together with massed bands, march to the war memorial. For veterans and ex-service personnel the physical act of marching has special significance as it rekindles the marches and the esprit de corps of their service years.

Tribute

Wreaths are laid in honour of the war dead by representatives of veterans’ organisations, nations, civic authorities, and youth organisations. Families also lay personal tributes. Wreaths are poignant symbols of mourning and remembrance.

The Future

Future Children and young people play an important role on ANZAC Day as they represent the means of fulfilling the eternal pledge: “We will remember them”.

Living Memorials The wreaths provide war memorials with renewed vitality and attention. One of the traditions of ANZAC Day is to inspect the wreaths and read the tributes. In many places, the wreaths are the result of hours of work by RSA Women’s Section volunteers. Personal Tributes The RSA’s Poppy – a national icon symbolising remembrance for the war dead – is worn on ANZAC Day to signify the wearer’s personal remembrance and makes an appropriate tribute at War Memorials.

Living Memorials

The wreaths provide war memorials with renewed vitality and attention. One of the traditions of ANZAC Day is to inspect the wreaths and read the tributes. In many places, the wreaths are the result of hours of work by RSA Women’s Section volunteers.

Personal Tributes

The RSA’s Poppy – a national icon symbolising remembrance for the war dead – is worn on ANZAC Day to signify the wearer’s personal remembrance and makes an appropriate tribute at War Memorials.

Other Observances

In suburbs and small towns throughout New Zealand, communities come together to remember at their local war memorial, hall, church or local RSA. These services are more intimate than the large city observances. There are also simple services held in the war veterans’ homes and rest homes. After the formal remembrance services of the morning, veterans and their families gather at the local RSA to relax and recall the day’s events as well as those of the distant past. While the formal commemoration period ends at 1 p.m. there are still many special ANZAC Day events to attend in the afternoon ...

Community Throughout New Zealand, local communities come together to commemorate ANZAC Day at war memorials as well as halls, RSAs, and marae. These observances are often more intimate than the larger cities services. Reunion ANZAC Day is about reuniting with old comrades and acquaintances. The Day has always possessed the characteristics of an annual reunion for veterans. Family ANZAC Day is about families joining together with their elders to remember.

Community

Throughout New Zealand, local communities come together to commemorate ANZAC Day at war memorials as well as halls, RSAs, and marae. These observances are often more intimate than the larger cities services.

Reunion

ANZAC Day is about reuniting with old comrades and acquaintances. The Day has always possessed the characteristics of an annual reunion for veterans.

Family

ANZAC Day is about families joining together with their elders to remember.

Down at the RSA After the formal observances, RSAs play host to ex-service men and women and their families. It is a time for veterans to reunite and reminisce, to mix with serving personnel, and to relax with family. The atmosphere may be informal but it is still very much one of remembrance. Young Gunners ANZAC Day provides an opportunity for children to learn about a part of New Zealand’s history from those who were a part of that history: the veterans.

Down at the RSA

After the formal observances, RSAs play host to ex-service men and women and their families. It is a time for veterans to reunite and reminisce, to mix with serving personnel, and to relax with family. The atmosphere may be informal but it is still very much one of remembrance.

Young Gunners

ANZAC Day provides an opportunity for children to learn about a part of New Zealand’s history from those who were a part of that history: the veterans.

 

At the going down of the sun ...

On ANZAC Day there are often special exhibitions, musical recitals and military displays to attend. For example, “Beating the Retreat” (the centuries-old military ceremony of lowering the flag at the end of the day) is performed at dusk in Wellington. In the evening reports of services from around the country and overseas can be seen on television. For veterans it is time to pack away their medals for another year. It is also a time for personal remembrance.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

Beating the Retreat This centuries-old tradition once heralded the closing of camp gates and the lowering of flags at the end of the day. Today it is a familiar twilight ceremony reserved for special occasions and preceded by a display of music and marching. It has concluded the formal observance of ANZAC Day in Wellington since the 1930s. New Generation Today’s servicemen and women honour the memory of their predecessors on ANZAC Day. Appreciation ANZAC Day provides one of the few occasions to witness a military parade.

Beating the Retreat

This centuries-old tradition once heralded the closing of camp gates and the lowering of flags at the end of the day. Today it is a familiar twilight ceremony reserved for special occasions and preceded by a display of music and marching. It has concluded the formal observance of ANZAC Day in Wellington since the 1930s.

New Generation

Today’s servicemen and women honour the memory of their predecessors on ANZAC Day.

Appreciation

ANZAC Day provides one of the few occasions to witness a military parade.

 

Fascination These young boys continue a timeless fascination with the spectacle of sound and colour that is a military parade. We will remember them The flag is lowered on another ANZAC Day.

Fascination

Appreciation
ANZAC Day provides one of the few occasions to witness a military parade.

We will remember them

The flag is lowered on another ANZAC Day.

 

Get involved on ANZAC Day

  • Attend an ANZAC Day Service in your community. Information on ANZAC Day Services are published in your local newspaper, or contact your local RSA.
  • Watch or listen to the live broadcasts of ANZAC Day Services on television and radio.
  • View the wreaths at your local war memorial or lay your own tribute (such as the RSA Poppy).
  • Visit or send a message to a returned service relative/friend.

Related Links

RSA Finder

History of ANZAC Day

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