Every year, Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day on 25 April – the anniversary of the first World War I military operation fought by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs). A solemn public holiday, Anzac Day broadly honours all servicemen and women who have suffered or lost their lives during conflicts or peacekeeping operations on behalf of Australia and New Zealand.
Anzac day is also observed by Australian and New Zealand communities worldwide, including in Macau. We hold our annual Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Old Taipa Houses Amphitheatre, against a beautiful backdrop of the Cotai skyline.
Once again this year, we hosted a meaningful service that welcomed roughly two dozen members of the community. To honour those we’ve lost, Alistair McEachern, the Deputy Consul-General of Australia to Hong Kong and Macao, and New Zealand ex-army corporal Paul Tam laid the first wreaths underneath the Australian and New Zealand flags, followed by attendees.
Three members of the Australian community, Bernadette West, Catherine White and John Sloane, then gave poetry readings, exploring the meaning of Anzac Day, losing someone we love and honouring our servicemen and women. Alistair read the final poem, “The Ode of Remembrance”, followed by a moving “Last Post” bugle call and a moment of silence.
We then sang the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair”, as well as the New Zealand national anthem, “God Defend New Zealand”. To conclude this year’s AustCham Macau Anzac Day Dawn Service, Billy Chan, a Vice-Chair of AustCham Macau’s Board of Directors, sang our beloved folk song “Waltzing Matilda” with attendees.
“We hold the Anzac Day Dawn Service every year as a mark of respect and to give thanks to the servicemen who lost their lives. It is a fitting time to come together and commemorate them,” Liviano Lacchia, a Vice-Chair of AustCham Macau’s Board of Directors, said after this year’s event.
“Anzac Day also evokes memories of Australia and New Zealand’s cooperation – two countries brought together. It’s a bond that won’t be broken.”
Paul, who lost members of his platoon while serving in Afghanistan, said the hardest thing for him is to watch the families of fallen soldiers suffer.
“It’s about seeing their wives and children every day. What are you going to say to them? That’s how important Anzac Day is,” he added. “It’s a reminder for now and for years to come. That’s what I tell my son.”
For Australians overseas, Anzac Day is also a time to come together with a sense of shared identity and remember that we are still connected to Australia even though we’re living abroad, said Alistair.
“It’s very nice to see so many people from Australia and New Zealand come out and [commemorate] Anzac Day,” he added.
Stephen Berry, a Director of AustCham Macau’s Board of Directors, said, “It’s important for Australians and New Zealanders living abroad to have the opportunity to attend services locally to pay their respects and reflect on the sacrifices made by others.”
We would like to extend our gratitude to Australian Deputy Consul-General Alistair McEachern, ex-service New Zealand Defence Force member Paul Tam and all those who took the time to join this year’s Anzac Day service and remember the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women. We would also like to thank the Galaxy Entertainment Group for sponsoring our breakfast and coffee during the ceremony.