With COVID-19 restrictions making it difficult for western Lake Macquarie residents to attend services marking 75 years since the end of World War II, Newcastle Military Vehicle Club members have come up with a novel - and moving - alternative.
They are taking the commemorations to the people, right past their homes.
About 27 historic military vehicles, most of them from World War II, will be driving in a convoy on a route through the area, including Rathmines and Wangi Wangi, to acknowledge Victory in the Pacific Day.
"With COVID, whether people have got a bit of cabin fever, they can't get out, or not knowing whether they should go to a service at the club, we'll take it past them," said club member Jason Becker.
The convoy will include a couple of World War II ambulances, a command car, a 25-pounder gun, trucks, including Mr Becker's 1940 Chevrolet, and jeeps - lots of jeeps.
"Pretty much everyone who starts out collecting military vehicles starts out with a jeep," explained Mr Becker, the proud owner of a 1943 jeep. "That's where you get bitten by the green bug, or once you scratch yourself on the green paint, it gets in the blood. And you can't get rid of it then."
The club's vehicles have become a feature of the ANZAC Day service in Wangi, with dozens of vehicles participating. But not this year, because of the pandemic. Then plans for 140 historic military vehicles travelling in a convoy to Darwin to mark 75 years since the war's end were also scuttled.
The Top End's loss has been Lake Macquarie's gain. The members were determined to take to the road for the sake of commemoration, and to do it in the Wangi area. As Mr Becker said, "Don't let it beat us."
So the convoy will drive past two significant wartime sites - the gun emplacements on Wangi Point and the former RAAF base at Rathmines - and will be outside Wangi RSL Club after a small service.
Leigh Warren, the president of the Wangi RSL sub-branch, said he appreciated the involvement of the military vehicles.
"I think it adds to the atmosphere of the event," Mr Warren said.
"If we can let the children, and adults, know what happened in the past, this helps them remember. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
"And people need to remember what Australians did to keep our freedom."
Jason Becker has owned his former US Army jeep for about five years and his 80-year-old military truck for about two years. For him, the joy is in driving a piece of history, but he'd love to know the story behind the vehicles.
"You often find yourself wondering what theatre of the war this was involved in," he said. "Did it see active service? Was it overseas? Who drove it?. They're the stories you'd love to be able to peel back inside and find out the whole history of it."
But on Saturday, Jason Becker will be driving to keep history alive, as a gesture of appreciation to those who served in World War II. And he hopes all who see the convoy experiences a similar feeling.
"I hope they remember the sacrifices that were made 75, 80 years ago," he said. "And because of those sacrifices, they get to sit on their verandas and watch us drive past."
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