SAMVOA Victoria’s participation in ANZAC 2022
Written by Veteran Tony Macquet
ANZAC 2020 and 2021 saw the COVID pandemic change how we normally participated in remembrance on ANZAC Day, following the cancellation of all parades and commemorative services. We still managed to experience the spirit of ANZAC by standing at the end of our driveways, or similar, at dawn, which was, in itself, an amazing experience to see people standing holding candles and remembering.
This year we returned to normal, and the ANZAC Day Dawn Service and street Parade in Melbourne saw many thousands of supporters turn out, probably positively impacted by the day being on a Monday, following closely on the Easter Long Weekend, where many companies had closed from 15th to the 26th of April. This made it an exceptionally long weekend.
However, many must have taken a long weekend and the parade participants, in all groups, were down this year, which resulted in the Commonwealth Forces stepping off a lot earlier than in previous years. This also impacted on SAMVOA where we turned out with 9 marchers, which reminded us of how we started back in 2004. Having said that, the comments we received on route and from friends who viewed us on television, were that there was no other group that turn out as well as and marched like the South Africans.
With a membership of 1,344 in the Australasia Region, one could not help but feel being part of a bigger movement of South African Veterans with SAMVOA veterans turning out in their hundreds throughout Australia, New Zealand and further afield in Dress Code 1A to pay their respects to the achievements of the ANZACs and to remember the fallen, both the ANZACs and our own.
It was a perfect day weather-wise, and it was sunny most of the day with a bit of cloud from time to time. After the parade, some of us adjourned to the Ringwood RSL for lunch where we had the opportunity to catch up with old friends, enjoy a great meal and share a few yarns. Planning has already started for the 2022 Formal Mess Dinner.
On the previous day, Sunday 24th, a group of us participated in the Ringwood RSL march and ceremony where the SAMVOA wreath was the third one to be laid out of about 30 odd others. This was laid by Veteran Richard Southey MMM and, what we enjoyed most, was that ours was laid well ahead of those by the politicians.
In similar circumstances, Veteran Kevin Edwards laid the SAMVOA wreath at the Warragul Shrine and, in this case, ours was the fourth wreath to be laid, ahead of around 25 others. There can be no doubt that SAMVOA is making an impact at many RSLs and RSAs, and we continue to encourage our members to become RSL / RSA members.
Thanks to everyone for making this a day one to remember, as we, in turn, remembered those who paid the supreme sacrifice.