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Take care of yourself this Anzac Day

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Acknowledging the commitment, dedication and sacrifice of our servicemen and servicewomen through commemorations is a significant and important part of Australian culture.

Commemorative periods can be emotional. We may have feelings of pride in family and friends who served or continue to serve, grief for those we have lost, sadness for those who come home changed, and optimism that their service has made the world a better place.

For veterans and their families, especially those who are living with combat-related mental illness, commemorative periods may be confronting.

Self-care during these periods is particularly important. Being aware of possible triggers that cause you distress and taking a few extra steps to look after yourself during these times, can make a difference. If you have a smart phone, use an app like High Res or PTSD Coach to monitor how you are tracking each day. These are free self-management wellness apps available on the App Store or Google Play.

Participating in social activities associated with a commemoration can sometimes be a difficult thing to do. Having said that, these activities can also bring a great sense of reward, satisfaction and recognition. Validation and acknowledgement of past experiences can be both a rewarding and often healing experience.

If you think you may benefit from support during the upcoming Anzac Day commemorative period, try to reach out and talk to friends, connect with family, or seek support from a professional during this time. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.

The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) offers free and confidential counselling for war and service related mental health and wellbeing conditions.

For help, to learn more or to check eligibility for VVCS services, call 1800 011 046 or visit www.vvcs.gov.au

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Combating risks to your home

Your home is more than just four walls – it’s a sanctuary for you and your loved ones.

Home insurance is your safety net if disaster strikes.

It’s designed to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home, and structures such as outbuildings, garages, perimeter walls and pools.

While insurance provides peace of mind, it’s a good idea to be aware of the hazards your home could face, and the steps you can take to protect it.

In Australia we’re exposed to our fair share of natural disasters. Depending on where you live you could be at risk of storms, flooding, bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes and more.

The Insurance Council of Australia is a great source for information about protecting your property and putting together a disaster action plan.

Proactive steps such as clearing dead or overhanging branches and ensuring your roof’s in good shape could really pay dividends when a storm rolls in.

House fires can spread quickly and put you and your family in danger. Here are a few ways to reduce your risk:

- Always ensure smoke alarms are installed and fitted with working batteries.

- Never leave cooking unattended, particularly when you’re using the cooktop.

- Keep matches out of the reach of children.

- Store flammable chemicals away from ignition sources.

- Clear the lint from your dryer each time you use it.

- Switch off appliances when they’re not in use, and avoid overloading power points.

Article courtesy of QBE. The Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme offers domestic home building insurance, with a range of personal insurances underwritten by QBE, to eligible serving military and veterans across Australia.

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75 years on... we continue to remember

Two significant Second World War commemorative services were held this month – the 75th Anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk and the 75th Anniversary of the Greece Campaign and Battle of Crete.

On Sunday, 10 April people gathered in Canberra at the Rats of Tobruk Memorial site on Anzac Parade to honour those that served during the eight month long siege of Tobruk including the honoured guests – 25 surviving Tobruk veterans.

Then on Thursday, 14 April a commemorative service was held to honour those that served during the Greek Campaign and the Battle of Crete.

The service was organised by the Cretan Association of Canberra & Districts Incorporated in conjunction with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The service was attended by six surviving Greece and Crete veterans.
 
Both days were uniquely special and provided an opportunity for those that served to be honoured for their courage and sacrifices.

It also provided an occasion for people who have not served in war to meet, listen and recognise some of the remarkable individuals that left their homes and loved ones to serve Australia in the Second World War.

More information is available on the Anzac Centenary website.

Video interviews with veterans who served in the Second World War are available for viewing through the Anzac Portal.

Image: Two veterans of the Greek campaign meet at the 75th commemoration.

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Anzac Day 2016

The Anzac tradition - the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship that are still relevant today - was established on 25 April 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

More than 8,700 Australians lost their lives throughout the course of the campaign, and more than 2,000 were killed or wounded on the first day of fighting.

This year also marks 100 years since Australian troops arrived on the Western Front. The Australian Imperial Force fought its first battles on the Western Front in July 1916.

Almost 300,000 Australians served on the Western Front, and more than 46,000 Australians lost their lives on the Western Front, of whom some 18,000 have no known grave.

Anzac Day is the day on which we remember those men and women who have served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.

In Canberra, the Australian War Memorial will host the Anzac Day Dawn Service, the National Ceremony and the Last Post Ceremony in close cooperation with the Returned and Services League of Australia ACT.

In the lead up to Anzac Day, commemorations will begin at dusk on Saturday 23 April when images of Australian servicemen and servicewomen, drawn from the Memorial’s rich photographic collection, are projected onto the Memorial building.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commemorative Ceremony will be held after the Dawn Service at the Aboriginal Memorial plaque on the side of Mount Ainslie.

For more information about community Anzac Day events in your area, visit http://goo.gl/6oaQ7M or contact your local ex-service organisation branch for details.

For information about Anzac Day ceremonies around the world, visit DVA’s website.

If you are unable to make a service ABC television, radio and online channels will screen events from around Australia and the battlefields of Gallipoli and Villers-Bretonneux.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)

A free and confidential counselling service for Australian veterans, peacekeepers and their families. For more information on VVCS services and eligibility, please visit the VVCS website or phone 1800 011 046.

Veterans' Affairs e-News is a regular service provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Comments or feedback on Veterans' Affairs e-News may be sent to AMBENEWS@dva.gov.au

Department of Veterans' Affairs

GPO box 9998

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