Sun to set on early dawn service?
EVERY April 25, at 4.28am, war veteran Ken Beecham remembers the fallen at the Bundaberg RSL’s Anzac Day dawn service.
But after complaints from some veterans that the event was too early, the sub-branch is considering moving it to a later time slot — causing controversy among Bundaberg’s former servicemen and women.
“It has to be at 4.28am — that’s when it has always been,” Korean and Malayan conflict veteran Mr Beecham said.
“If they’re going to change the time, they might as well change the date.”
Navy veteran and lifetime RSL member George Connolly said he strongly opposed the suggestion.
“It needs to be at that time because 4.28am is when the Anzacs crossed the line,” he said.
Coral Coast Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Greg Barnes said there were concerns a later RSL service in Bundaberg could clash with the popular 5am civilian event at Bargara.
“We started at Bargara 14 years ago, and we timed it especially so people can go to both services,” Mr Barnes said.
“We are in discussions with the RSL to make sure both Bundaberg and Bargara are able to pay fitting tribute.”
Bundaberg RSL sub-branch president Phillip McNamara said a committee was canvassing opinions, after a string of requests for a later service.
“For years we have been getting feedback from veterans that it is too early,” he said.
“The older the veterans get, the more difficult it is for them to get there.”
Mr McNamara said the committee would research a variety of options after consulting associated organisations and the council, but veterans’ wishes would get top priority.
“The dawn service is about the veterans, not civilians,” he said.
“The decision will be made by the sub-branch committee after consulting everyone involved.”