ANZAC day is not until Monday, which is a public holiday, so the schools had their ceremony today. Previously the ceremony was only for the grades three and up, this year all the students were there. And, parents and friends were invited, so a nice opportunity for me to experience another school tradition.
Last year Oliver was on his first trip to Melbourne and he stayed in a hotel near the Shrine of Remembrance when he stumpbled upon the Dawn service in the city on Anzac Day. This year it is very hard to miss. It seems to be a very well kept and important tradition. Starting from Anzac biscuits found in every store to people talking about it.
A couple weeks ago, when we were in our Peninsula road trip, the coffee vendor at the beach already had his sign up that he would be closed on ANZAC day. He always works during Christmas and New Years, but Anzac Day is his day off. He goes to the city the night before and brings his swag (a one person bivak-tent that is really popular here), so he is in the city for sunrise. At sunrise and at sunset the ones who were killed during a war are remembered, as I learned today.
Anyway, back to Essex Heights Primary school. At 10 o’clock all the teachers and children interrupted their work and came out of the class rooms to gather around the flag posts.
In the past week they all spoke about Anzac Day in class. Even Kai came home talking about the first World war and Anzac Day.
There were speeches from 6th graders, the blowing of the horn, someone from the military giving a speech and the singing of the national Anthem. Mr. Crosset, the principle, clearly explained all the ceremonies, like the lowering of the flags, the minute silence and flowers are put around the flags. But most importantly, that it is very important to stay quiet during the ceremonies, as that as the way that you show respect. It is impressive to see this being followed by 500+ children from 5-12 years old.
Then the children brought flowers that they made themselves.