RACV Club member Jeff Sammut believes the Driveway Dawn Service could become a new tradition for Victorians on Anzac Day.
He and his family heeded the RSL’s call to light a candle and “stand to” in their driveway on April 25 to observe a minute of silence in memory of the fallen.
“It was a bit special and an opportunity to talk to our two children, who are 8 and 11, about what it all meant as the morning sun rose,” Jeff says. “It was great to see a few of the neighbours out as well. I suspect this will become the new norm for Anzac Day’s to come.”
Hundreds of Victorians took photos of their driveway services and shared them on social media using the #STANDTO hashtag. It was a dramatic change of routine for Jeff, who has been part of the RACV’s free door-to-door volunteer driving service for veterans for nine years.
The RACV has coordinated the service for 104 years to ensure veterans can participate in Melbourne's Anzac Day parade. But COVID-19 restrictions prevented veterans attending the service at the Shrine of Remembrance this year. Instead, Jeff phoned his two World War II veterans, Ron Appleton and Robert Jeavons.
I rang them to thank them and to let them know we were still thinking of them even though we couldn’t be in the parade this year
“There is always a lot of pride in their stories about where they were stationed and what they experienced at such a young age. They also like to remember their fallen mates.”
For his driveway dawn service, Jeff streamed ABC Radio’s coverage, ensuring it was loud enough for his neighbour over the road to hear the Last Post being played. “Anzac Day for me is a day to reflect on what the veterans went through to protect our country and our way of life, and the sacrifices they made through hardship and adversity,” Jeff says. “We wouldn’t have the opportunity to stand in front of our houses if it wasn’t for the Anzacs.”