Army recruit follows in family’s Defence Force legacy
A SOMERSET family's newest defence force recruit will spend his first ever Anzac Day apart from his family, as he undergoes Army training in Canberra.
Shari Hill's son Tony began his training with the Army in January, but current circumstances have denied him being able to celebrate his enlisting with his family back at Glamorgan Vale.
"From when he was six months old, he's never missed an Anzac Day," Shari said.
"Tony said, 'who would've thought when I'm actually in the Army is the first time I won't go to a service'," Mrs Hill said.
"It's quite upsetting for him. He thought he'd be part of it, possibly in uniform, representing the Army."
Tony, 20, currently ranked a senior cadet in the Royal Military College in Canberra, graduated from Faith Lutheran College in 2017.
Just prior to Easter, he was promoted into third class.
Tony is the fourth generation in his family to join the Defence Force, contributing to a lasting legacy encompassing several branches of the military.
However, he is the first to join the Army, with previous generations enlisting in the Air Force.
"His dad did 33 years and is still in the Reserves now, his grandfather did 20 years in the Air Force, and his great-grandfather - he was also in the Air Force in World War 2," Mrs Hill said.
"We were all very surprised when he chose to join the Army. He knew he wanted to join the Defence Force, but one time when we were at an information night, he said 'you know what, Mum, I think I want to join the Army' and we all nearly fell on the floor."
Tony was training in Canberra when coronavirus restrictions began to be put in place, and won't be able to rejoin his family for Anzac Day.
"They're meant to be back at the Royal Military College, but because of this coronavirus they're actually being confined out bush. They're doing extended out-bush scenarios. They don't know when they'll be coming back," Mrs Hill said.
"They've been with the group that they're with for the whole time, so they know they're all safe. They thought 'why would we introduce different factors?' They just want to keep them safe."
The rest of his family have been hard at work finding their own ways to commemorate the day.
"It certainly hasn't been easy. He's so far away from home. He's got a younger brother and sister, and they're missing him," Mrs Hill said.
"We're doing our own remembrance and Anzac thing at home. We've done our gate up with crosses and that sort of thing."
Like many others, they intend to take part in the Light Up the Dawn service.
"We're going to be at our gate, hopefully with a large portion of other people around their gates. My daughter, as part of her in-house schooling, has learned The Ode, and we're going to play on the Bluetooth the Last Post," she said.
"We're going to record it, and send it to my son, and Mum and Dad, and that sort of thing to share it around. Something a little different, but something to remember."
Even though she was disappointed the family wouldn't all be together for Anzac Day, she said it was important for young people to go out into the world and find their own path.
"I wanted to say to the children out here in the country that you can still have a dream," she said.
"It's scary to go away from home and what you know, but it's a whole world that's just open with opportunities."