Watch it from 1pm AEST: Lone bugler’s eerie but ‘marvellous’ Last Post
Since 1995, the AFL has honoured those who have served our country, including the legendary ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) of World War I, through a moving ceremony that’s held in conjunction with the Essendon v Collingwood match at the MCG on 25 April each year.
And we are all the better for it – as a society, as citizens, and as a game.
Football has become a significant, though obviously secondary, part of Anzac Day, and has also played a role in returning April 25 to its rightful, almost sacred, status on the Australian calendar. Unfortunately, public health restrictions in place this year have significantly limited ANZAC Day celebrations, including the cancellation of the Essendon v Collingwood match.
The AFL’s annual ANZAC Day ceremony will go ahead this year, despite the game’s shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the Ode of Remembrance recited and Last Post played by a lone bugler in a special broadcast to be aired today.
Set to be shown on AFL.com.au, the AFL Live Official App, and the respective club channels of both Collingwood and Essendon, the ceremony will begin at 1:00pm AEST today (25 April).
This year marks 105 years since Australians (and other Allies, including New Zealanders) stormed the beaches at Gallipoli in Turkey, showing extraordinary courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
Footballers have played their part in all manner of conflicts involving our country, including Gallipoli.
Among the 8,709 Australians who died during the disastrous eight-month campaign at Gallipoli were at least 89 League players, including six who fell on 25 April 1915.
Kevin Sheedy, former Essendon coach and mastermind of the ANZAC Day match, once told reporters before an ANZAC Day game, “In the end we can never match the courage of people who went to war. But we can actually thank them with the way we play this game, with its spirit. We’re very, very lucky people in this country.”