April 25, 2003
Australia remembered the Gallipoli ANZACs with a particularly heavy heart in 2003.
In the lead-up to ANZAC Day the last surviving Gallipoli campaign veteran, Alec Campbell, died aged 103.
In Tasmania the Launceston War Widows Guild - some of who were servicewomen - banded together for the day wearing theirs and their husbands' war medals.
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The 2003 day was shrouded in gloom as only one month earlier Australian troops had been sent to Iraq, alongside their American counterparts, in response to escalating tensions spouted by then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Such was the volatility of Hussein, and the perceived seriousness of his threats, Australia was on high alert. The decision to head to Iraq was so fresh anti-war protests were expected to mar the ANZAC Day celebrations.
RSL member Roger Cashion was tasked with guarding the Launceston Cenotaph to prevent any unruly behaviour ahead of the day.
"The chances of someone [attacking the Cenotaph] is high, if they haven't got any respect for the country," he said.
In news outside of the national day of remembrance, Nostradamus-inspired reader S. Laidlaw from Prospect wrote in warning of the state governments pokie deal it had struck with Federal Group.
Calling out the length of the 20-year-deal that had been struck they said, "one thing that is sure is that Premier Jim Bacon and his government have guaranteed Federal Hotels a monopoly over whatever it wishes to buy in Tasmania".
Ironically, the world was grappling with the SARS virus at the time.
Treatment for the virus was being worked on by Australian developers but uncertainty and worry were still permeating the discourse around the world.
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The LGH was gripped by the drama, erecting signs around the hospital spouting messages similar to those regarding COVID-19.
In local sport, the NTFA was gearing up for a big round of ANZAC Day clashes.
South Launceston were hailing the return of club gun and Tasmanian representative Paul Beechey for their clash with the then Northern Bombers.
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