Anzac holiday angers veterans

ANGRY local ex-servicemen have criticised a State Government move to make the Monday following Anzac Day a public holiday, arguing it detracts from the significance of the occasion.

Warwick RSL sub-branch deputy president John Skinner said the decision would shift focus from the remembrance and commemoration of April 25 to “getting away for a long weekend”.

“We are not happy about it; it distracts from the importance of Anzac Day,” Mr Skinner said.

“We want to see more people at the parade and we want to encourage them to take a little time to remember and thank servicemen and women who go to war to defend our freedom.

“But the real risk is now people will take the three-day weekend and go camping or get away.

“I am not opposed to that, but this is not the time for an extra day off; it’s a time for remembering.”

It was a sentiment supported by Warwick RSL sub-branch secretary Barry Kelly.

“Queensland seems to be becoming the land of public holidays,” Mr Kelly said.

“The idea of a public holiday following Anzac Day is ludicrous. We are the only state doing this; lets get our priorities right.”

Veterans’ Support Advocacy Services Australia president Steve Mackie said he was confident Warwick people would still support the Anzac Day parade despite the long weekend.

“We are forgetting what is important,” Mr Mackie said. “The significance is also being lost by the sporting organisers and commercial retailers, who don’t believe in respecting tradition.”



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