RSL says community will remember, as Anzac Day service cancelled

THE Airlie Beach Whitsunday RSL is disappointed to be cancelling this year’s Anzac Day commemorations but says the community will always remember the sacrifice of our defence forces.

RSL Queensland has advised sub-branches to cancel Anzac Day commemorations in light of the emerging coronavirus public health emergency.

RSL Queensland President Tony Ferris has advised that ‘older veterans are particularly at risk from this virus, so we believe this is the responsible thing to do to ensure their health and wellbeing’.

Airlie Beach secretary Phil Smailes said Anzac Day was an opportunity for Australians to remember all those who have served and sacrificed.

“Regardless of the form this year’s Anzac Day commemoration will take, we will always remember the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of our defence forces, past and present,” he said.

“We are pleased that so many Queenslanders recognise its significance more than a century after it was first commemorated.

“Airlie Beach Whitsunday is disappointed that we are not able to commemorate Anzac Day in the time-honoured traditional fashion this year.

“However, our Dawn Service and Community March and Service, at Airlie Beach, could risk the health of our older veterans, family members or members of the public.”

Mr Smailes said the traditional Anzac Day badge and memorabilia sales would not go ahead at Whitsunday Shopping Centre and Whitsunday Plaza prior to Anzac Day, due to coronavirus concerns.

“Several of our sub-branch members, at this stage, will raise the national flag at dawn, on Anzac Day, at the cenotaph in Bi-Centennial Park, and at the Remembrance Rock, in the Foreshore Park, Airlie Esplanade.

“Later that day, members of the public may place flowers or a wreath at either location, at any time throughout the day, in memory of those who have served.”