Veterans and families reflect on ANZAC Day 2024

A serving Defence member, a family member of a veteran and two other RSL NSW members on this year’s ANZAC Day services.

Veterans never serve alone; throughout their time in Defence and afterwards, they are supported by family, colleagues and friends – and this spirit of community was evident across this year’s ANZAC Day services.

Here, a serving Defence member, a family member of a veteran and two other RSL NSW members share their impressions on this year’s services.

Lieutenant Hubert Demonteverde

Lieutenant Hubert Demonteverde attended the Sydney CBD March and, later, the commemoration service at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park alongside his family.

Demonteverde, who currently manages maintenance aboard one of the Navy’s destroyers, says he was proud to participate in uniform; he and his family have been coming to the march since 2008, even before he joined Defence.

For him, the day is a chance to step back and reflect on service made and opportunities given.

“It’s a continuation of a tradition that I’ve had since high school,” he explains. “It’s about acknowledging our predecessors and all the people who have allowed my family and other personnel not born in Australia to come and be a part.”

Amanda Curby

Amanda Curby’s submariner husband Shayne was on duty the night before ANZAC Day, so she and their two children didn’t join him at a dawn service.

Shayne, who is a member of the Epping RSL sub-Branch, later joined his family for the Sydney CBD March, and together they visited The Epping Club.

“It’s growing every year,” says Curby, who is Secretary of the RSL NSW Young Veterans Committee (YVC). “The public sentiment towards ANZAC Day and our servicemen and women is growing exponentially. People are [growing] more and more passionate, far more than when I was younger – and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

“The [kids] know they’re in a Defence family; that’s something they’ve always known,” she says. “They’ve had to endure deployments and [having] Dad away. They have a certain respect for it.”

John Catterson

City of Orange RSL sub-Branch member and former Army Reservist John Catterson describes his sub-Branch’s ANZAC Day services as the largest in years.

“We had a fantastic turnout for both services, particularly the dawn service,” he says. “It might have been two degrees in Orange, but we had, I think, the best turnout we’ve ever had.

“The numbers keep going up. It’s great to see the community come together like that.”

For Catterson personally, it was a time of great reflection.

“I took the time to think about the mates I’ve served with, some of whom aren’t around anymore,” he says. “It’s unfortunate to have gone to so many funerals in the past 10 years.”

Di McClelland

Record-breaking floods in early 2022 meant that the City of Lismore RSL sub-Branch went without the usual venue for its ANZAC Day service for two years. That finally changed this year.

“The Lismore Memorial Baths have just been reopened,” says Di McClelland, Wellbeing Advocate at the City of Lismore RSL sub-Branch. “This year we were able to hold the service with running electricity; the past two ANZAC Days, we relied on generators and torches.

“The baths have been repainted and are looking really spiffy.”

McClelland was on hand throughout the day to assist some of the elderly veterans moving from venue to venue.

“After the dawn service, we went and had breakfast together in a show of companionship for people who might not always get out,” she says. “And seeing younger veterans with their families gives me great pleasure.”

Whether you’ve served for a single day or decades, RSL NSW welcomes veterans of any service length – and any career background – to join the organisation. Access support services and become part of a like-minded community of peers by becoming a member of RSL NSW.

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