How is the Anzac legend commemorated in contemporary times?

The ANZAC legend is commemorated in contemporary times through annual ANZAC services, held on 25 April, the anniversary of the landing of the ANZACs at Gallipoli.

These services incorporate elements such as:

  • singing of either, or sometimes both of the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems (Advance Australia Fair and God Defend New Zealand)
  • prayer for the Queens and the Commonwealth, for the Nation and a prayer for peace
  • incorporation of the symbols of ANZAC, e.g. Medals; Reverse Arms; Catafalque; Rosemary; Poppy/ Poziéres
  • reading of the poems "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon and "In Flanders' Fields" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
  • Those gathered for the service repeat the last line of the final verse of "For the Fallen":

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

  • A catafalque guard of honour around the war memorial, provided by Uniformed service personnel
  • sometimes singing of war songs such as It's a Long Way to Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles
  • singing of hymns that remember the dead, such as "Abide With Me" and "Eternal father Strong to Save" (the latter being a mariners' hymn)
  • laying of the ANZAC wreaths
  • bugle renditions of The Last Post and Reveille
  • One minute's silence

Many cities also have marches through their streets, usually to the war memorial or similar shrine of remembrance where the commemorative service is held. The state Governor takes the salute. Veterans of all wars in which Australia has been involved are remembered, not just those of Gallipoli. Present day serving members of the armed forces also march, with music provided by pipe and other community and service bands. Public attendance at the events is increasing in recent years.

The ANZAC Day march is usually followed by social gatherings of veterans, hosted either in a pub or in an RSL Club, often including a traditional Australian gambling game called "two-up", which was an extremely popular past-time with ANZAC soldiers.