BALLARAT RSL senior vice-president and chief parade marshal Alan Douglass knew it was about time some of the forgotten servicemen and woman were recognised.
That’s the reason why this year’s Anzac Day march through Ballarat will be something the town has never experienced before.
Mr Douglass has completely changed the concept of this years’ march, placing emphasis on Vietnam Veterans, the Australian Army Nursing Service and the millions of animals who all played their part in Australia’s military history.
He said the Vietnam Veterans will lead the march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Long Tan.
“They went through hard times just as much as the boys in WWI and WWII. We must not forget them,” he said. Mr Douglass said he also decided to put a large emphasis on nurses, honouring them for the first time in the march with a contingent of nurses from the Ballarat Base Hospital Nursing League participating.
“Every year we talk about the diggers, but no one brings up what the nurses went through,” he said.
Let's face it, if they hadn't of been able to do what they did we wouldn't be where we are today.- Alan Douglass
While a large emphasis was put on WWI, he aimed to honour servicemen and women who contributed to the nation’s war history in all conflicts from the Boar War to Afghanistan and veterans from the Solomon Islands.
“Let’s face it, if they hadn’t of been able to do what they did we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said.
A number of German Shepherds will also join the march, representing the horses, donkeys, mules and camels who carried food, ammunition and medical supplies to men at the front, and dogs and pigeons who carried messages.
He also hadn’t forgotten about the country’s younger generation with a number of Scouts, Cubs and Guides also participating.
“A lot of people have a distant relative who came and fought… it’s important they come and reflect on them,” he said. This year’s march route will remain the same as last year, beginning from the Ballarat RSL at The George.
Participants will form up at 10am with the march off at 10.30. The march will head along Sturt Street and finish at the Cenotaph at 11am for a wreath-laying and commemorative service.
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