A record number of Youth Vigils – 16 – will be held this year including Adelaide, Blackwood, Hallet Cove, Mannum, Port Lincoln and Whyalla.
The RSL coordinated the first Youth Vigil in Adelaide in 2001 and the concept has grown to both metropolitan and regional communities.
The Adelaide Youth Vigil will be conducted for the 15th year at the South Australian National War Memorial, North Terrace, Adelaide from 6:00pm on Thursday 24th April 2015.
The Youth Vigil is an initiative of the RSL and twelve Youth Organisations from around South Australia.
The Vigil is organised by a committee consisting one adult member from each of the participating organisations, and co-ordinated by two volunteers representing the State Headquarters of the Returned & Services League, South Australia.
Several hundred young people and their leaders will represent a diversity of groups, including:
- SA Blue Light Rangers
- St John Ambulance Cadets
- Australian Army Cadets
- Girl Guides SA
- Girls Brigade SA
- Surf Lifesaving SA
- Scouts Australia SA
- Country Fire Service Cadets
- Boys Brigade SA
- Australian Air Force Cadets
- SA State Emergency Service Cadets
- Australian Navy Cadets
Bill Denny, Chair of the RSL ANZAC Day Committee, confirmed that “the Youth Vigil is now accepted, along with the Dawn Service, the ANZAC Commemorative March and the service at the Cross of Sacrifice, as an integral part of the ANZAC Commemoration in South Australia”.
Bill estimated that “30,000 children over 15 years have been engaged and educated as a result of Youth Vigils, and the RSL have taught them the importance of commemoration, knowing our history and the futility of war.”
Bill added that the “RSL has been very active to embrace the Turkish Community, the Aboriginal community, the Muslim community and the broader multicultural community.”
Of special significance at the Adelaide Vigil this year, young Achelya Bal, 16, from the Adelaide Turkish Community will recite the Ataturk statement in both English and Turkish, and a musical group supported by youth singers will sing the Turkish song ‘Canakkale’ in memory of the fallen.
The Battle of Gallipoli was known as the Battle of Canakkale by the Turkish. Representatives from each Youth Organisation then parade to place a “Tribute to the Fallen” on the Memorial before forming a Guard of Honour for representatives from the Aboriginal, Turkish and Afghan communities, followed by Legacy, Red Cross, the Catholic Community and a number of Allied Nations who also place tributes on behalf of the ethnic community.
This year it is anticipated that tributes will be placed by young people in national dress, representing, in excess of 10 national groups.
A wreath will be placed by children of the Lochowiak family, including great, great grandchildren of Arthur Thomas Walker, a Ramindjeri man from Goolwa who served in 50th Australian Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli.
The youth in attendance mount a formal “Holding Ground” Ceremony between 6:00pm on ANZAC Eve and approximately 5:30am on ANZAC Morning.
Just prior to dawn, the Youth Guard yield to the Defence Tri-Service Catafalque Party and the Dawn Service follows.
His Excellency, The Honourable Mr Hieu Van Le AO, Governor of SA will visit the Adelaide Youth Vigil and take part in a formal Ceremony of Dedication from 7.25pm.
Guest Speaker at the Youth Vigil will be Lucy Brown, 17 years old and studying Year 12 at St Peters College.
Lucy was a recipient of the RSL Anzac Spirit Prize in 2014 and travelled to Singapore and South Korea on the Anzac Spirit Tour.
The ANZAC Eve Youth Vigil aims to provide our young citizens with an opportunity to express, in a tangible way, the increasing interest shown in ANZAC Day and other Remembrance activities.
At the same time, it encourages the young to realise that war must never be regarded as an acceptable way to resolve world conflict.