ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
Australians recognise 25 April as an occasion of national remembrance, which takes two forms. Commemorative services are held at dawn – the time of the original landing – across the nation. Later in the day, ex-servicemen and women meet to take part in marches through the major cities and in many smaller centres. Commemorative ceremonies are more formal and are held at war memorials around the country. In these ways, ANZAC Day is a time when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.
At the Australian War Memorial, the ceremony takes place at 10.15 am in the presence of people such as the prime minister and the governor general. Each year the ceremony follows a pattern that is familiar to generations of Australians. A typical ANZAC Day ceremony may include the following features: an introduction, hymn, prayer, an address, laying of wreaths, a recitation, the Last Post, a period of silence, either the Rouse or the Reveille, and the national anthem. After the Memorial’s ceremony, families often place red poppies beside the names of relatives on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour, as they also do after Remembrance Day services.