Image: Hobart’s dawn service (Alex Jackson)
Thousands of people have gathered for ANZAC Day dawn services across the state, locals coming together to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty.
Tasmanian RSL CEO John Hardy says it’s an important day for veterans to come together, but also for the community to think about the sacrifices made by fellow Tasmanians.
“As you line up to watch the parade, or stand in silent reflection this ANZAC Day, I’d like to ask one thing: let’s fight like hell for the living,” he said.
“Veterans are 178% more likely to be homeless than the general population, and female Veterans are 127% more likely to suicide. This is everyone’s concern, and, like our ANZACs, everyone needs to step up.”
Premier Jeremy Rockliff has also paid tribute to those who served and continue to do so.
“Today more than 10,500 war veterans and ex-service personnel live in Tasmania,” said Mr Rockliff.
“I encourage all Tasmanians today to take a moment of quiet reflection, and shine a light on the bravery and valour of those who have given their all to defend our state, our country and our way of life.”
A Tasmanian air force member is having the ANZAC Day experience of a lifetime, taking part in Australia’s Federation Guard catafalque party at a service in France.
24-year-old Leading Aircraftwoman Hunter Westbrook is related to Burnie-born and Launceston-educated WWII casualty Victor Westbrook and has also visited her cousin’s grave while overseas.
“He was just a year younger than me. He was a bank clerk before he enlisted and he went from that to the infantry front line – and he volunteered for that – it just blows my mind,” ACW Westmore told Defence Media.
“It was very eerie but peaceful at the same time.”
Hunter’s mum Amanda says she has two other children in service, and they take the day seriously.
“We’re always up and we’re always playing the Last Post loud and proud,” she said.
“Every day we are very grateful for the fallen before us who give us the freedom that we have today.”