A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in 1945, officially ending World War II will be held on August 15.

Hosted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Victory in the Pacific Day ceremony will be held at the Australian War Memorial. 

ADF members of Australia’s Federation Guard are practising their drills for the catafalque party for the memorial.

Able Seaman Hayden Rapley said he was proud to be taking part in the significant event.

“I like the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself,” Able Seaman Rapley said. 

Private Joshua Gonzales said he would treasure having World War II veterans watch as he honours their fallen mates. 

Among them will be Private Gonzalez’s great-grandfather Thomas O’Keeffe, a sapper who served in Tobruk. 

I like the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself.

“Pride and respect, they’re the two words that come to mind instantly,” Private Gonzales said.

“No matter what I do in my military career, it won’t come close to being as hard as what they did. 

“To see these fellas who paved the way for us now, I can’t explain it.” 

Growing up in country Victoria, pictures around the house of his great-grandfather and the movie The Light Horsemen – about Australia’s cavalry charge at Beersheeba – made Private Gonzalez decide by age eight to join the Army.

“For whatever reason, that got to me and I wanted to be a part of Army,” Private Gonzales said.

“Every time the band plays Waltzing Matilda as we march off, it still gives me goose-bumps – it’s something else.”

Fellow guardsman, Leading Aircraftwoman Gretel Pedersen, knows her four-year-old son will be watching the ceremony on TV.

“I love being in a role where my son is proud of me and can look up to me,” Leading Aircraftwoman Pedersen said. 

“It’s important he sees an example of working hard.”