Image for the rememberance of Anzac Day

Making Arrangements for Anzac Day

With April well under way, by this time next week Anzac Day will have been and gone. With various services taking place all over the country and around the world, many Aussies will choose to attend one and may even wish to take along a floral tribute.

I guess I had assumed that everyone knew what a traditional Anzac Wreath looked like, but perhaps they don’t….. or perhaps like basically everything else in the world today, people are choosing to express themselves and do it their own way.

Still, when my husband returned from work a couple of days ago trying to clarify the details of a traditional arrangement, I was surprised. His employer, tasked him with making the wreaths for the organisation. Sure, he has worked in and around florists much of his adult life, but he isn’t a trained florist. But he is a bit of a stickler for tradition, so he was pretty set on getting it right.  The organisation on the other hand had more liberal ideas of what the wreath might look like.

Image of an Anzac Day laurel wreath
Anzac Day laurel wreath or chaplet featuring the Lest We Forget ribbon, red poppies and rosemary

Did you know that an Anzac Day wreath is usually teardrop shaped?

A traditional laurel wreath is made in the shape of a teardrop with the base entirely covered with flat laurel leaves. I have often seen these wreaths covered with alternative foliages such as camellia leaves or little gem magnolia. Laurel is symbolic as it has been used since ancient Roman times to crown victors and the brave as a mark of honour. The chaplet usually has a cluster of three red poppies in the bottom centre. Red poppies are a significant symbol of remembrance, always used for Remebrance day on November 11th, but have taken pride of place on Anzac Day wreaths. According to soldiers’ folklore, the poppy is said to have absorbed the blood of the fallen from the ground to achieve it’s vivid colour. Poppies are also one of the first flowers to bloom in the battlefields of the First World War in Belgium and the North of France.

The Lest We Forget ribbon should be placed high in the left corner, across the wreath, and finishing low in the right hand side to symbolise the sun rising in the East and setting in the west.

Lastly, rosemary is often added to the wreath as another symbol of remembrance.

Image of a Rosemary - symbol of remembrance for Anzac Day
Rosemary is often worn for remembrance, but can be used in fresh flower arrangements also

What I could see as my husband continued to relay the conversation to me, was that whilst the traditional laurel wreath is specific and symbolic, in general, people are basically happy with anything beautiful. It was only our industry knowledge and the assumption that they wanted a ‘traditional arrangement’ that was really complicating things.

Image of a Round floral wreath - traditional funeral arrangement
Floral tributes are a traditional funereal arrangement although often people choose to leave these beautiful fresh flower arrangements at Anzac Day services and commemorative monuments

Take a moment to look around if you attend a service this Anzac Day- through the sea of arrangements do you notice the laurel and the vivid red poppies, or do you see brightly coloured rounded floral wreath arrangements. Round wreath arrangements are a traditional funereal arrangement but there is certainly nothing wrong with choosing to design your own special tribute thiscAnzac Day.

What do you think? How important are traditions to you?

Fwf x

feature image via SBS



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The Red ‘Flanders’ Poppy

For any date of significance when it comes to war, an image of a red poppy has been firmly etched on my brain. Stunningly vibrant, and richly red, the poppy is a symbol of remembrance.

The Red Poppy is also known as the Flanders Poppy, and was first described as the flower of remembrance by Canadian Colonel John McCrae. McCrae composed a poem scrawled on a page of his book while in charge of a small first-aid post, which has since become famously known as “Flanders’ Field”. The poem describes the graves of the fallen soldiers simply marked by red poppies.

For Aussies, Red poppies have special significance as they were the first flower to bloom throughout the battlefields after the First World War, in northern France and Belgium. It was believed that the vivid red of the poppy had come from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.

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Image: PNEPS Visual Arts.

Poppies are generally available in Australia throughout the middle of the year, around July and August. They have a crepe paper texture, and soft stems, so are quite delicate. They are often scolded on the base of their stems, and are best kept in low levels of water, which is said to encourage the poppies to ‘stretch’ and therefore allow more of the blooms to pop open rather than deteriorating.

ANZAC Day service at the National War Memorial Wellington.
Image: Forster Anglican ANZAC Day service at the National War Memorial Wellington.

A.N.Z.A.C (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) Day falls on April 25 each year and commemorates the day that Australian and New Zealand troops rallied together with other allies in an attempt to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. As we know, it was not meant to be, and upon landing on Gallipoli that were met with fierce resistance, and were embattled for 8 months. When the allied forces were finally evacuated in 1915, both sides had suffered great loss in human life,  and endured immense hardships. Every April 25th, Australians remember the huge sacrifice the ANZACs made. Although the mission they set out to accomplish at Gallipoli failed, the ANZAC spirit triumphed and would be forever remembered.

Fresh poppies are a pretty tall order at this time of year so you will notice that often artificial blooms adorn the wreaths laid at the memorials. But interestingly, you will rarely see them substituted by any other bloom in their place on the traditional laurel leaf wreath.

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Image: Eternity News

Cloth red poppies are sold by the RSL to fund raise for their welfare activities. They are an exact replica in terms of size and colour of the Flanders Poppy that was found in the battlefields following the WW1.

If you are unable to get your hands on a fresh, artificial or cloth red poppy for ANZAC day this year, Rosemary is also a symbol of remembrance and is readily available.  Rosemary grew wild on the Gallipoli peninsula, so has a special significance for ANZAC day. Rosemary is also said to improve one’s memory.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Fwf x



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WORDS- Honouring and Remembering Those Who Have Gone

Losing someone special is hard at any age, but most find losing the young unfair and inexpiable, unimaginable and unforgivable. Many lives were lost in wars Australia commissioned men for, and to this day, their lives and their sacrifice are honoured each ANZAC DAY.

With Anzac Day, April 25th fast approaching we take a look at different messages you may find helpful when preparing your tributes. Some may also be helpful in other situations where you have lost someone special, and find that you are somewhat lost for words.

ANZAC Day service at the National War Memorial Wellington.
Image: ANZAC Day service at the National War Memorial Wellington, via 4cc.

The Australian War Memorial says: “Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember all Australians who served and died in war and on operational service. The spirit of Anzac, with its qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.”

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Image: A view looking aft of lifeboat carrying unidentified men of the Australian 1st Divisional Signal Company as they are towed towards Anzac Cove at 6 am on the day of the landing, via Australian War Memorial.

Anzac Day specific:

They shall not grow old, as those who are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. AT the going down of the sun, and in the morning,We will remember them. Lest we Forget.

A soldier doesn’t fight because he hates what is in front of him, he fights because he loves what he left behind.

When you go home tell them of us and say “For your tomorrow, we gave our today”

It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the solider, not he poet who has given us the freedom of speech.  It is the soldier not the campus organiser, who has given the freedom to demonstrate.

Let us remember those brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could be free. Lest we Forget.

We will miss them all so much, The daddy’s who went to war, The husbands who had left, It leaves your heart so sore. We want them back, We miss them all, Those men so brave, That walked so tall. He was an Aussie soldier, He dies for all of us, So you and I could live so free, The fought for love and trust. On ANZAC day we will remember them,They are always in our heart, To live how they would want us to,Is the perfect place to start.

We remember and thank all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and country on this ANZAC day.

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Image: Anzac Day march, via Public Holidays

Sympathy Quotes and Sentiments:

THE MEASURE OF A MAN: Not – “how did he die” But – “how did he live” Not – “what did he gain” But – “what did he give” These are the units To measure the worth Of a man, as a man, Regardless of birth.

 When someone you love becomes a memory, That memory becomes a treasure

“What we have once enjoyed, we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes part of us.” -Helen Keller

 “Grant but memory to us, and we lose nothing by death.” -Whittier, My Summer with Dr. Singleton

 “The Lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 “The Remembrance of the good done by those we have loved is the only consolation when we have lost them.” -Demoustier

I am sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family during these difficult times.

May the memories help you find peace.

Our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy.

You and your family are in our prayers. Sorry to hear of your loss.

We were coworkers of ……. Words cannot express our sorrow. The office won’t be the same without (HIM/HER). …….will be missed.

Sorry to hear about …….. It’s never easy. My prayers are with you and your family.

We are sorry for your loss. ……….., was such a great person, (HE/SHE) will live on in our memories forever.

I was deeply saddened by the news of ……….’s passing. My heart felt condolences to you and your family.

I am deeply saddened by ……….’s death.

I was truly saddened by the death of ………….

We are thinking of you during these difficult times.

I want you to know friends who love you surround you. ………… was a great man/great woman.

You are in our hearts and prayers.

Let the memories of ……..’s life comfort you in his/her death.

Your family is surrounded by the love of many.

There were few who could compare to ………..

We pray the love for the lost is forever carried in your memory.

May you find comfort in loving memories.

We can’t begin to imagine what you are feeling, but let us share our heart-felt condolence

Word’s cannot express the sadness we feel for you dealing with the death of …………

We know the day will come but death always leaves us with grief.

What do you do on Anzac Day? Do you attend a Dawn service, or lay a wreath at the war memorial, do you bet you grocery budget on a two-up game and wash down your sorrows with a cold beer?

Til Next time,

Fwf x

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Centenary of the ANZAC- April 25, 2015

Anzac Day, marks the anniversary of Australian and New Zealand forces, in their first major military effort, landing on Gallipoli during the first world war. It is a day that Australians (and New Zealanders alike) take very personally, and certainly could well be Australia’s most important national occasion.


The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, being met with fierce resistance by the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had supposed to have been a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly turned into a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for a further eight months. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed by the time the allied forces were evacuated at the end of 1915. .

Although the Gallipoli campaign had failed in its military objective, what was to be known as the “anzac legend” was born, and became an integral part of the identity of both nations. It has certainly left a powerful legacy.

The Day:

Anzac Day is a day of national remembrance, taking two forms: commemorative dawn services and commemorative ceremonies, which tend to be more formal and take place at war memorials all over the country. In these ways, Anzac Day is a time when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.

* Anzac day was officially named in 1916 and was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services in Australia, a march through London, and a sports day in the Australian camp in Egypt.

*During the 1920s Anzac Day became established as a national day of commemoration for the 60,000 Australians who had died during the war.

*In 1927, for the first time every state observed some form of public holiday on Anzac Day.

*By the mid-1930s, all the rituals we now associate with the day – dawn vigils, marches, memorial services, reunions, two-up games – were firmly established as part of Anzac Day culture.

The Dawn Service:

The Dawn Service observed on Anzac Day has its origins in a military routine which is still followed by the Australian Army today. During battle, the half-light of dawn was one of the most favoured times for an attack, although dusk is equally favourable for attacks.

These days families and young people are encouraged to participate in dawn services as many soldiers pass on. It is a beautiful and fitting tribute to the brave men and women who fought throughout both the first and second world wars, and in fact, all military operations in which Australia has been involved

The Australian War Memorial website says:

“Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.”

Ode of Remembrance:

Anzac Day is an incredibly important and emotional day for many Australians. It is so important that these stories are told, and the history passed down through the generations to come and that we respect what the generations before us has been through, and lived through and how it has shaped us as a nation.

Many lives were lost, and many lives were changed forever.

We will remember them

Fwf x

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In Flanders Field. Image:

Ways We Will Remember Them- Flower Symbols for Anzac Day

This April 25th marks 100 years of the ANZAC. Slowly more soldiers pass as time moves forward, and the history is passed down generation to generation. Family members will march in tribute. Dawn services all over Sydney, will be at capacity reportedly by 3am.

In today’s blog we examine some of the symbolism used for ANZAC Day and for remembrance as a whole, and how you can pay tribute to our diggers in a small way.

Perhaps you have family members that march on Anzac Day who will wear sprigs of rosemary. Maybe you will attend one of the many local dawn services taking place all over Sydney and lay a wreath at a War Memorial.

Whatever you do this Saturday, please take a moment to acknowledge those who have died at war, their sacrifice, and for those who have returned with scars that are both seen, and unseen.


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Extract from ‘For the Fallen” Image: Must Be Printed


Flower and Plant symbols of Remembrance:

Rosemary, can be found growing wild on the peninsula of Galipoli, and so it holds a special significance for Australians and New Zealanders alike. The aromatic herb is thought to improve memory, and perhaps because of this, Rosemary has become an emblem of fidelity and remembrance. Sprigs of rosemary are traditionally worn on Anzac Day and are often handed out by Legacy and the RSL.

Sprigs of rosemary are traditionally worn on Anzac Day. Image: Morwell RSL

The Poppy is traditionally worn on Remembrance Day (11 November) each year although they also have pride of place on traditional Anzac wreaths. The red poppy has several points of significance;

1. they were among the first flowers to bloom in the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium in the First World War;

2. In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy is said to have come from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground;


Red Poppies are a traditional symbol of remembrance. Image: The Australian Army

3. Canadian Colonel John McCrae first described the Flanders’ poppy (Red Poppy), as the flower of remembrance after a young friend and former student was killed at war. McCrae composed a poem in pencil on a page of his despatch book that has come to be known as ‘Flanders’ Field’ which described the poppies that marked the graves of soldiers killed fighting for their country.

In Flanders Fields By John McCrae Image: Beloved Brands


Laurel Wreaths are a traditional tribute piece for Anzac Day services. The Chaplets are traditionally woven with Laurel leaves, which was used as a symbol of honour as far back as the ancient Romans to crown victors and the brave. The wreath is also adorned with 3 red poppies which have become a symbol of Remembrance Day.

The Lest We Forget ribbon is correctly place high in the left corner, across the wreath, and finishing low in the right hand side to symbolise the sun rising in the East and setting in the west.

Own Image: ANZAC Chaplet woven with traditional elements; laurel leaves, rosemary and red poppies.

A Punt on Two up,  beer with a digger, a dawn service, or a donation to the RSL- there are many ways to honour and remember our diggers this year and every year to come. Whatever you do, make it special, we are unlikely to see another centenary come within our lifetime, which makes is a once in a lifetime celebration. Get involved, and don’t let it pass you by.

How will you remember them?

Fwf x


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