WATCH LIVE: An Anzac Day like no other
FROM the golden sands of Currumbin Beach, to the dusty dirt of the Queensland Outback, we will remember them.
As the sun rises on an Anzac Day like no other, Queenslanders will honour the memory of the fallen against the backdrop of the darkest cloud to descend on humanity since World War II.
While the coronavirus pandemic has put paid to Dawn Services and Anzac marches across the state, tens of thousands of quiet tributes are today taking place at the end of suburban driveways as people take part in the RSL's Light up the Dawn commemoration.
A special wreath-laying ceremony will be conducted in Brisbane with only a handful of dignitaries, including RSL Queensland president Tony Ferris, in attendance.
Queensland-based serving soldiers have agreed to surprise veterans with personal phone calls as the state unites to commemorate the day.
"Many of our older veterans particularly look forward to Anzac Day ... I know that many of them are feeling the loss of this social interaction, especially those who have been isolated by the COVID-19 restrictions," RSL Queensland spokesperson Rob Skoda said.
"Virtual Veteran Visits will ensure that they know that - despite the current unusual circumstances - they have not been forgotten."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would be an Anzac Day "like none of us have ever experienced".
"I look forward to the entire nation, on their driveways, lighting up the dawn, remembering our heroes and drawing inspiration from them for the task and challenge we currently face," he said.
Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester said Australia was facing the most significant challenge and threat to their way of life since World War II.
"Whether it's a solitary driveway tribute, baking Anzac biscuits, a small ceremony with your household, sharing a message for our service personnel, or watching the televised service ... I encourage everyone to pause, reflect and say a simple 'thank you for your service'."
At Currumbin, the iconic Elephant Rock will today ((SUBS Sat April 25)) stand silent and deserted, a stark contrast to the crowds of more than 20,000 who usually descend on the beach for one of Australia's most famous Anzac Day services.
Former Currumbin RSL president Ron Workman, who last year stepped down after 27 years running the revered Elephant Rock service, said it was hard to describe the emotions of commemorating Anzac Day amid the spectre of the coronavirus.
"There's a bit of sadness," he said.
"It's hard to explain - it's something I've been doing for 27 years so it's a bit depressing not having it here this year but people's health and wellbeing is the most important thing so I understand why it has to be this way."
Instead, he will proudly march to the end of his driveway, where his local community will join him - at acceptable social distance of course, to honour Australia's military service heroes.
It will also be a different experience for Currumbin surf club boatie Mark Owens, who has participated in the iconic beach service for the past decade, rowing out with an armada of surf boats to scatter the ashes of fallen Diggers past.
"It's always been a real honour for us to deliver some of these brave soldiers to their final resting place," he said.
"It's been our small way of saying thank you to them and we won't be able to do it this year.
"It's going to be disappointing but we all understand that we're in uncharted territory at the moment."
He has been involved in the moving tradition of scattering the ashes of fallen defence personnel off the beach of Currumbin since the initiative was first started.
"Ron Workman came to us and asked if we could do it as part of the ceremony and we thought it was a great idea."
"It started off small, but by the time of the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli in 2015 we had 25 boat crews (100 rowers) taking part."
For clubmate David Dwight, the ceremony is already personal - he had direct ancestors who fought at Gallipoli over a century ago.
Mr Owens said military families who had lost loved ones in the past year had already reached out with alternatives to this year's cancelled ceremony.
"Some of the families (of recently deceased Diggers) have asked whether we might be able to do it on Remembrance Day instead while others want to wait until Anzac Day next year," he said.
Originally published as WATCH LIVE: An Anzac Day like no other