Privilege for custodian of our sacred sounds
One musician and an arrangement of just five harmonic notes forms the centrepiece of our Anzac Day services.
Leading Aircraftman Jason Reeve, of the Royal Australian Air Force Band, is used to being the lone bugler sounding out the last post. He’s performed this most moving part of our annual commemoration at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Villers-Bretonneux in France and the British War Cemetery in Jerusalem.
Anzac Day services will be a little different this year; COVID-19 has seen to that. Tributes will be personal, solitary and held on driveways, in the home or joining with others to watch a live stream from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
However you mark the day, the Last Post will remain at the heart of our remembrance of fallen comrades.
For Leading Aircraftman Reeve, it provides a sense of space and time to reflect.
“Nerves are always present when you are about to play the Last Post but this is a good sign because it reflects how much we care about our task and how important it is to everyone,” Leading Aircraftman Reeve said.
“As you step up to navigate the sounds and silences of this call you’re aware of how solitary the experience is but you are also aware that you are entering into something much larger than yourself. It’s always a privilege to have the opportunity to sound this most evocative call to remembrance and to be its custodian as a member of the ADF.”
Leading Aircraftman Reeve is from Doreen in Victoria. He’s been a member of the Royal Australian Air Force Band since enlisting in 2006. The band has more than 40 members at RAAF Base Laverton and in normal times would expect to perform at more than 100 events a year.
Before the RAAF Band, Leading Aircraftman Reeve worked in and around Melbourne as a classical trumpeter with many orchestras.
He earned a Bachelor, Honours and Masters degree in Music Performance from The Victorian College of the Arts and made the decision to sign up with Air Force 14 years ago with a brother serving in the ADF and a grandfather who saw action in World War II.
“My Grandad was a gunner in the Navy and took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea. He’s always been our ‘family Anzac’ and I’ll be thinking of him this year,” Leading Aircraftman Reeve said.
The Last Post originally signalled the end of the military day and that the camp was secure, elevated now for us to remember the sacrifice made by others defending our country.
You can’t attend a service this year. You can’t remember in the same way we have for generations. You will hear the Last Post, though, either in your street or on your TV.
It will be just as provocative and just as moving.
We will remember them – Lest We Forget.