War widows are demanding Melbourne’s Anzac Day parade go ahead this year, saying “we need to honour the fallen”.
War widows are demanding Melbourne’s Anzac Day parade go ahead this year, saying “we need to honour the fallen”.

War widows push for Anzac Day parade

War widows are demanding Melbourne's Anzac Day parade be reinstated, declaring it just as important as the Dawn Service.

Melbourne Legacy - which supports more than 3400 elderly war widows - wants the parade to proceed.

Some widows march in the place of their late husbands and have themselves served their country.

Melbourne Legacy chief executive officer Jo Moloney said: "Anzac Day is a momentous day as it allows us all as Australians and, in particular our elderly war widows, to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of all those who have served and are currently serving in the Australian Defence Force."

"Melbourne Legacy views the Anzac Day march as being an integral part of Anzac Day, just as important as the Dawn Service,'' Ms Moloney said.

"Last year was especially difficult for the over 3400 war widows Melbourne Legacy support with many of our ladies having suffered increased levels of social isolation.

"On Anzac Day, our ladies very much look forward to being able to observe and honour the sacrifice of their fallen family members and that of our current serving ADF as they march proudly towards the Shrine of Remembrance while, at the same time, being able to reconnect with other Melbourne Legacy war widows.

"Even if our widows are unable to attend in person, the march still gives them the opportunity to watch, reflect and commemorate from their home or other social setting."

Anzac Day parades in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth have all been given the go-ahead.

But Melbourne's was this month cancelled, with RSL Victoria meeting the state government on Friday about a possible scaled-down parade.

Widow Jean Carter, 75, whose late husband John served in the Vietnam War and herself performed army clerical work, said the pair used to march in the city together - a tradition she continued for several years after he died.

"Particularly for the Vietnam veterans, it's the only recognition they get,'' Mrs Carter said.

"And all those old fellas are passing on - nobody is going to remember them if we stop the parade. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them.

"This is one way of remembering the service that they gave us."

Elaine Parsons, whose late husband John served in Borneo and New Guinea, said: "Why shouldn't these men and women march? They have earned the right to march."

Veteran Tracey Halliwell, 57, whose late husband Wayne also served, said: "If they can do the tennis then they can certainly make accommodation for marches."

"There is nothing like marching in the veterans' parade. We need to honour the fallen."

RSL Victoria has been gathering information from subbranches about their commemorative activities.

Veterans Minister Shaun Leane said: "We'd like to see the march go ahead in some shape or form and we'll continue to sit down with RSL Victoria to see what options work best for them".

wes.hosking@news.com.au

Originally published as War widows push for Anzac Day parade


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