The stirring sound of a bugle rippled across Circular Quay at dawn on Wednesday, marking the first sign of a day of remembrance.
Acting Veterans Affairs Minister Geoff Lee stood side-by-side with the bugler and RSL NSW acting president Ray James as dozens of red poppies adorned the Sydney Opera House sails, reflecting into the harbour below for Remembrance Day 2020.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month signifies Germany’s truce in France in 1918 which ended the First War.
More than 60,000 Australians were killed fighting for their country. And today the nation pays tribute to those lost and to those who are still serving.
Minister Lee described the moment the Opera House lit up as “spine tingling”.
“This morning was a great scene, the water was glassy, the sun was rising to the east and red poppies were projected onto the white sails of the Opera House in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms,” he said.
“It was a strong symbolic reminder of the service and sacrifice made over a century ago which gave us the freedom we enjoy today.”
Services will look slightly different on Wednesday, Minister Lee said, compared to previous years with up to 100 people allowed to gather outdoors to mark the significant day so long as they can adhere to the four-square-metre rule.
But it is an improvement on what was a “highly disruptive” Anzac Day.
“This is the first time we’ve had this year to actually commemorate those that have served our country,” he said.
“It will always be important to recognise the extreme challenges our nation has overcome thanks to endurance, mateship, sacrifice and courage.”
Minister Lee said it is essential young Australians understand the significant of the day, so schools have been given activity packs for students to make poppies and create stories around those who have served at war.
“We want to encourage young people to understand the importance of our history and legacy of those who have served our country,” he said.
An invite-only official Remembrance Day service will be held at the Martin Place Cenotaph in Sydney later on Wednesday.
Originally published as Opera House lit up in sea of poppies