Young people keeping Anzac spirit alive

dawn service on Anzac Day 2017_Noel Fisher

There’s nothing more young people like than a public holiday or a sleep in. But when it comes to Anzac Day it seems the majority are willing to forgo extra sleep to pay their respects.

Hatch surveyed 109 people aged 18 to 24 and found almost three-quarters (79) commemorated Anzac Day this year. The majority of those (43) attended a dawn service. 

Loc Hughes, 18, of Wentworthville said he believed Anzac Day was “one of, if not the most important, day of the year”.

“My great-grandfather and my great-uncle both fought in the war and my grandfather serviced in the air force, but even if I didn’t have a connection through blood it’s still a very personal day as they protected our freedom and lives today,” he said.

“Although I had to work unfortunately I still went to a dawn service to pay tribute and respect at 4am. I work at a pub anyway so was pretty much amongst the atmosphere of what most Aussies do on Anzac Day – drink beer, enjoy our freedoms and pay respect to our heroes.”

Anzac Day graphic_Fiona West_picby_NoelFisher

Luke Masters, 18, whose dad and brother are in the Air Force, told Hatch it was important for young people to keep the traditional commemorations alive.

“I believe everyone should pay respects to those who have died for us in the war,” he said.

“The youth of our generation should attend such ceremonies to educate themselves on why they are here today and the sacrifices made to uphold and defend our country.”

Mitchell Macdonald, 19, from Dee Why, started Anzac Day with a local dawn service before heading into the city for the march.

He did so “to honour not just those who served in my family but all the others who signed the ‘blank cheque’; those who returned and those who didn’t”.

“I do feel that families like mine who have family members serve do have a stronger link to the Legacy… With the younger generation, depending on their upbringing, many have forgotten what the day is about and see it as just another public holiday.”

Just over a quarter of those surveyed (30) did not attend a service, march or participate in a game of Two-up at the local RSL. Only two of these people were working.

Jamila Richards, 18, from Rooty Hill confessed she used the day off to complete a uni assignment.”I didn’t celebrate Anzac Day; I had an assignment due,” she said.”I have no one from the Australian army in my family.”

Sarah Massoud, 18, from Merrylands West, does not attend any commemorative services but on the day still reflects on the sacrifices made at war.

“I went to the park with my family and then we had chicken and chips,” she said.

“My parents aren’t from here (but) we are respectful and believe in paying respects as a family.”

Story and graphic by the Hatch Newsroom Team, photos by Noel Fisher