A Sydney council has apologised for an “extremely unfortunate and disrespectful error” in Anzac Day banners.
The error was spotted by a 2GB listener on Tuesday, who snapped a photo and sent it in to host Ray Hadley. “Saw these banners in Concord today,” listener Tony wrote. “Who’s responsible? How embarrassing.”
The banners in Sydney’s inner west show pictures of returned servicemen with the words “Lest we forgot” printed underneath.
In a statement to the radio station, City of Canada Bay general manager Peter Gainsford said he had “today been made aware of banners that have been erected in our area containing an extremely unfortunate, and disrespectful, error”.
“I am extremely disappointed and accept full responsibility,” Mr Gainsford said.
“I have been informed that the error was due to a miscommunication between Council staff and the printer of the banners. All of the banners are currently being removed with urgency.”
Mr Gainsford said he had spoken to representatives of the Concord, Five Dock and Drummoyne RSL branches this morning and “unreservedly apologised for any offence”.
“I would like to apologise to our community, in particular to the members of our local RSL branches and to our veterans, for this egregious error,” he said.
Hadley praised Mr Gainsford for his response. “Well done to you, Peter,” he said. “Congratulations, mate, fixing the problem as quickly as that.”
The Ode of Remembrance, a passage from Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, is recited at Remembrance Day ceremonies around the world, including Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.
The phrase “Lest we forget”, taken from Rudyard Kipling’s poem Recessional, is not actually part of the Ode of Remembrance but is added on or repeated in response by listeners.
In 2015, Woolworths came under fire for a tacky advertising campaign inviting members of the public to share pictures or stories of loved ones affected by war.
The uploaded photos were then branded with the Woolworths logo and the words, “Lest we Forget 1915-2015. Fresh in our memories.”