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Anzac Day dawn service 2007 – Always bigger, always better?

By johnboy - 25 April 2007 22

Apparently over 30,000 Canberrans made their way in the dark to the War Memorial this morning. Cars clogged the streets of Reid and Campbell for miles around and the buses stacked up on Limestone Avenue as if for a football game.

The stadium seating was draped in camouflage and the days of the candles being lit one to the other, passing on the flame, are long gone, replaced by insipid orange bulbed fake electric candles which drop no wax and start no fires.

No one sang (apart from the choir) because no one knows how to sing any more. As a very gentle rain started to fall a sea of umbrellas went up. Getting there by 5am was hardship enough.

But it was a lovely service.

UPDATED: guillerisco has YouTubed some of the pomp and circumstance of the later service:

What’s Your opinion?

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22 Responses to
Anzac Day dawn service 2007 – Always bigger, always better?
LG 2:55 pm 25 Apr 07

I didn’t mind the fake candles, I thought they gave off enough light to read the programme.

The only downpoint for me was the guy in front of me who was smoking. It wafted straight into my face. Sure its outdoors, but if you want to smoke, go to the back, don’t light up in the middle of a crowd of people.

Outside of that I enjoyed it very much.

Watched a bit of the 10:30 ceremony on TV, Bob McMullan looked so bored and uninterested. Pretty poor form in my opinion.

GnT 1:59 pm 25 Apr 07

“Yep but the problem is no one told that to Hitler or the Japs.”

Or Dubya

bubzie 12:34 pm 25 Apr 07

i went, for the first time this year..and im sticking to the 10am service to pay my respects this time.

(and those battery powered candles were shocking. I couldnt read the program with one of those!)

johnboy 12:10 pm 25 Apr 07

Well there were plenty of the little orange battery powered fake candles.

terubo 11:27 am 25 Apr 07

Could it be, JB, that there is some correlation between “no one knows how to sing any more” and “the days of the candles being lit one to the other, passing on the flame, are long gone”?

-In other words, too dark to read the words off the distributed songsheets.

johnboy 10:53 am 25 Apr 07

Possibly as a result of upbringing I know Oh Valiant Hearts rather well. The words *were* all in the programs that were widely distributed. I also note that the hymm Non Nobis Domine has been dropped which i think is a shame as the words were written by CEW Bean, as has been the Lord’s Prayer. Times and sensitivities change.

Anyway I’m pretty sure that amongst the very many things those we honoured this morning were fighting for was the right to wonder out loud if maybe the Anzac day hoopla (especially for non-veterans) has been taken a bit far.

For the curious the war memorial has an old program online from 2003 with the words to Non Nobis Domine:

By Charles Bean, Australian official war correspondent
Written in December 1915, when leaving the graves on Gallipoli; the title is taken from Psalm 115, “Not unto us, O Lord”.

Not unto us, O Lord, to tell
Thy purpose in the blast,
Why these, that tower beyond us, fell
And we were overpast.

We cannot guess how goodness springs
From the black tempest’s breath,
Nor scan the birth of gentle things
In these red bursts of death.

We only know – from good and great
Nothing save good can flow;
That where the cedar crashed so straight
No crooked tree shall grow;

That from their ruin a taller pride –
Not for these eyes to see –
May clothe one day the valleyside . . .
Non nobis, domine.

shauno 10:38 am 25 Apr 07

“war seems so tragic and unnecessary.”
Yep but the problem is no one told that to Hitler or the Japs.

RM 10:17 am 25 Apr 07

“ – where someone can always find a negative – and voice it.”

Morgan Lee 10:10 am 25 Apr 07

Yeah, even for a regular church goer those hymns aren’t on the top 20 countdown of favourite hymns anymore. I don’t think I’ll go again, because of the sheer numbers I have been to Raiders games that are more moving and personal.

I must take my hat off to that bloke who MC’s it every year, the way he rolls his rrr’s…

GnT 10:09 am 25 Apr 07

I no longer go to Anzac Day services. The whole thing seems to me to be glorifying war. We are supposed to be grateful that so many people made the ultimate sacrifice. I am just sad that thay died. I guess it’s just the pacifist in me – war seems so tragic and unnecessary.

Pandy 10:06 am 25 Apr 07

I gave it a miss this year. Too many people, too far too walk, its much the same every year.

liz 10:02 am 25 Apr 07

The candles, both the style and the lack of people holding them were disappointing indeed.

Aside from ‘Abide With Me’, i didn’t know the songs to sing them.

szeretetta 9:24 am 25 Apr 07

I was there this morning. It was a very lovely service. I stood there in the rain, but disappointed with the candles. The people all around me were singing as much as they could, but the songs, for the most part, were not well known.

johnboy 8:59 am 25 Apr 07

I’ve been going to these things since it was just 300 people who’d fit inside the cloister of the War Memorial.

The growing cult of Anzac Day makes me a little uneasy I guess, for all that I’m a part of it.

If it was a throw away line I’d have thrown it away.

DJ 8:55 am 25 Apr 07

I think you need to have a look at yourself. I read your post as being skeptical and cynical on what I believe should be a humbling and reflective time. If you think the service was lacking then instead of doing the typical RA thing and looking for fault and attempting to be witty, talk to the VA/RSL/AWM and associated organisations and make carefully considered constructive suggestions. Your last sentence is a throw away line I’m guessing.

Lest we forget.

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