For the first time in almost a century, people across the country will be commemorating ANZAC Day from home – remembering the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The state’s Returned & Services League, responsible for coordinating the national day of remembrance, was one of the first organisations to announce the cancellation of its services in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Like many sub-branches across the country, Serpentine-Jarrahdale RSL has been looking for innovative ways to acknowledge veterans on April 25.
Serpentine-Jarrahdale RSL vice president Rob Coales said the sub branch had printed 400 limited edition ANZAC Day bumper stickers, more than half of which had sold within 24 hours of their release.
The stickers are now available at a number of local outlets for a gold coin donation, with all proceeds going straight back into the RSL sub-branch.
As a veteran himself, Mr Coales said it was important to still acknowledge veterans ahead of ANZAC Day, even if we cannot do so physically.
“Our veterans paid the ultimate sacrifice and, as a body dedicated to advocating for veterans, we thought it was a small way to acknowledge that,” he said.
“Initially, we had about 200 stickers printed – but they sold out in just over a day.
“I was surprised by how quickly they went, but I think everyone was eager to show their support for the veterans this ANZAC Day, particularly because our services have had to be cancelled.”
Mr Coales admitted it would be a particularly challenging year for veterans and their families, with ANZAC Day services typically providing an opportunity to exchange stories and socialise.
“This year will be particularly difficult for those that have served not to be able to have those important conversations with their fellow veterans, that mateship,” he said.
“That’s why we’re strongly encouraging people to reach out to their fellow veterans, whether that be a phone call or a Skype call.
“The RSL does intend to stream last year’s service via our Facebook Page so that people can watch it there.”
The dedicated volunteers at the RSL’s Op Shop will also be working hard to raise funds for the sub-branch, which advocates for local veterans.
The stickers can be found at Byford Bakery, Lakeside IGA, Mundijong IGA, Byford Bottleo, Jarrahdale Post Office and Serpentine IGA.