Younger post-Vietnam military veterans will be brought to the front of the Anzac Day march in Perth, one of three firsts for this year’s annual commemorations.
Returned and Services League of Western Australia president Graham Edwards said they would lead the ex-military contingent, only marching behind senior veterans in cars.
With the focus of Anzac Day being World War I for the next four years – given November 2014 marks 100 years since Australian troops departed for the four-year conflict – this year’s march was a good time to shine the spotlight on former servicemen from more recent hostilities, Mr Edwards said.
In another first, the RSLWA has held daily Last Post ceremonies at Kings Park’s State War Memorial this week in a bid to cap ever-swelling crowds on the Anzac Day public holiday. More than 40,000 people are expected to attend on Friday.
Crowds of up to 500 people have been attending the 15-minute sunset services since they started on Sunday, with the final ceremony to be held on Thursday.
Mr Edwards said the sunset ceremonies would return in 2015.
“Anzac Day itself is getting so big, people tell us that they felt like they’ve lost the important connection that’s there,” he told AAP.
“We hope that these (sunset) services will continue to grow and people will become involved in them, because that’s what it’s all about.”
On Thursday at 5.30pm, a service will be held at Blackboy Hill in Greenmount, where West Australian World War I troops trained before marching to Midland, catching a train to Fremantle and setting sail.
The rest of the convoy, from New Zealand and other parts of Australia, left from Albany.
“While there’s a strong focus on Albany as there should be, we can’t lose sight of the fact most West Australians left from Fremantle and they joined the convoy after,” Mr Edwards said.
And on Friday, the dawn service at Kings Park will be broadcast live for the first time.