Anzac traditions vital, despite COVID-19 challenge
THE COVID-19 restrictions on Anzac Day celebrations have thrown up some challenges to South Grafton RSL sub-Branch's commemorative services co-ordinator Bob Hayes.
Over the years Mr Hayes has managed to balance his instinct for putting on a good show with a tendency to be a stickler for tradition and protocol.
"You can't have the same thing each time," he said. "People get sick of it and don't want to come back.
"But you have to make sure you include all the protocols and traditions. In a way that keeps them relevant."
One of his popular innovations in recent years has been a Power Point presentation at the Dawn Service.
"I try to include a few different things each year, like a couple of songs, prayers or poetry," he said.
"This year we won't be able to have the Dawn Service like normal, but I've been thinking I would run it in my front yard."
Mr Hayes said he would ask his wife, Leonie, to play the National Anthem on the guitar for the service.
"If she's prepared to get out of bed for the 6am service I think I'll do that," he said.
"I can rig up a little guitar amp for it pretty easily."
Mr Hayes said he would love to see his neighbours get outside to show how they feel about Anzac Day.
"I'm a bit of a fan of the idea of the Driveway Commemoration," he said. "I've thinking of dropping some leaflets into the letter boxes of the people in my street to ask them to all get out in the morning at dawn for that."
Mr Hayes said officially the club had some events planned which the executive would carry out privately.
"But if anyone wants to lay a wreath, we will have the flag flying at the cenotaph in South Grafton all day," he said.
"The social distancing rules will apply and if there's a few people there, it might be better to wait or come back a bit later."
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