- Countries around the world have enforced lockdown measures meant to limit the novel coronavirus’ spread.
- Social gatherings are largely banned under lockdown, and people have had to adjust how they mark holidays and milestones while in isolation.
- This weekend marked Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that honours citizens who died in war or conflict.
- While the holiday has been observed in past years with large gatherings, photos show how this year’s celebrations were dialed down in accordance with coronavirus restrictions.
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Lockdown measures put in place to curb the novel coronavirus’ spread have reshaped the way people around the world interact with one another. These social-distancing measures are felt every day, from shuttered businesses to travel restrictions, though the feeling of distance is amplified during celebrations of milestones or holidays.
This weekend marked Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that honours soldiers in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who died in World War I. It also more broadly commemorates Australian and New Zealand citizens who died in war or conflict.
The occasion is usually first marked by a dawn service, honouring the time when Australian and New Zealand forces first landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in World War I. Marches and vigils usually follow, though this year’s activities were mostly halted because of lockdown rules.
Tens of thousands of people have attended these memorial rituals in years past, but this year most public festivities in Australia and New Zealand on Anzac Day were cancelled and citizens were instead encouraged to mark the occasion while holding candles in their driveways at dawn.
While most people commemorated the event from their homes, a determined few still showed up at dawn at major memorial sites while authorities stood guard to ensure social-distancing rules were observed.
These photos show what this year’s scaled-down ceremonies looked like compared with the massive gatherings of people in previous years.
The Shrine of Remembrance is the National War Memorial of Victoria, Australia. Each year, a service is held at dawn to mark Anzac Day.
Source: Australian Broadcasting Channel
Though this year’s services at the Shrine of Remembrance were instead held over a live broadcast on Facebook, a handful of people still showed up to the memorial site at dawn.
There is always an enhanced police presence at the site on Anzac Day.
This year was no exception, as authorities were stationed around the memorial site to ensure people were maintaining distance and abiding by the law.
About 25,000 people gathered in 2019 to mark the dawn service.
But this year, only several dozen devoted citizens observed the early-morning silent service.
A crowd of 35,000 people filled the space in 2018.
This year, about 75 people marked the occasion in front of the shrine.
People in attendance usually wave Australian and New Zealand flags to show their support.
Among the few in attendance this year, the displays of pride were more subdued.
During the dawn services in previous years, the ground was barely visible given the crowds.
- Scott Barbour/Getty Images
But this year, the area was almost empty.
In past years, thousands of people gathered around the eternal flame outside the Shrine.
This year, the space around the flames was remarkably empty.
Thousands of people usually line up to enter the Shrine to pay their respects during the dawn service.
- Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
This year, a gate blocked off the entrance of the shrine to passersby.
The large crowds usually pack people close to one another.
- Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
This year, those in attendance deliberately stood at a distance.
Despite the early-morning start time, the Shrine consistently brings in large gatherings.
This year, the crowd mainly consisted of members of the media and police officers.
Tens of thousands also usually gather at other memorial sites around Australia. In 2016, massive crowds showed up at the Australian War Memorial in the Australian capital, Canberra.
This year, the grounds at the Australian War Memorial were eerily quiet, and the dawn service was livestreamed.
Source: Australian War Memorial
In previous years, officials laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the national service at the memorial as several guards looked on.
This year, fewer people were present inside the tomb at the wreath-laying ceremony.
After the ceremony, attendees typically stream into the memorial’s remembrance area.
This year, the memorial site was shut to the public.
In previous years, crowds would line up to lay Flanders poppies into the walls of the memorial site at the Australian War Memorial.
This year, the walls were filled with flowers, but the halls were devoid of members of the public.
- Rohan Thomson/Getty Images
In previous years, tens of thousands of people would gather to lay wreaths at Sydney’s memorial monument called the Cenotaph at Martin Place.
This year, the area was much quieter.
This year, the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park was nearly empty for the dawn service.
In North Bondi, a popular beach in Sydney, military cadets stood guard to ensure social-distancing rules were enforced.
In Perth, the Flame of Remembrance and Pool of Reflection at the State War Memorial were also nearly empty at dawn this year.
In previous years, Anzac Day ceremonies in New Zealand would draw thousands of people.
This year, memorial sites were left empty as traditional ceremonies were cancelled.
In previous years, ceremonies at the Auckland War Memorial Museum drew large crowds for high-profile Anzac Day services. Last year, Prince William attended the service alongside New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern.
This year, the museum saw fewer people.
- Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Still, people across Australia and New Zealand found creative ways to mark the occasion. Many held a candle and stood outside their homes in solidarity with the dawn services while obeying social-distancing rules.
Veterans and civilians alike stood in their driveways for the dawn service.
Here, a marine stands outside his mailbox in Auckland.
- Phil Walter/Getty Images