Wodonga-based veterans have expressed their anguish at being unable to march in Victoria on Anzac Day.
Wodonga RSL secretary Kate Chamberlain said returned service people had voiced their disappointment across the state particularly with crowds of at least 75,000 people allowed to attend AFL matches.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking and heart wrenching when you understand how much it means to those veterans," Ms Chamberlain said.
"For most of them, their active service may as well have been yesterday, because it stays with them.
"This is the one positive day where they can be celebrated, thanked and honoured for the service they provide and we haven't been able to give them that."
Despite the club's best efforts, Ms Chamberlain said only so much could be done by a volunteer organisation.
"The requirements on a volunteer organisation such as Wodonga RSL to run an event like this was too hefty," she said.
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The club secretary said the 20-page COVID plan and the number of marshals required was "simply unattainable" for the club.
Wodonga RSL president Jim Begley questioned how other large scale events were free to go ahead in Melbourne.
"They seem to be able to do it pretty easily for 100,000 people at the footy, while we're going to only have 500 to 1000 people here," Mr Begley said.
The club president said that trying to make the march work was itself an exhausting process for volunteers.
"This has been going on for two months, we've changed again and again, it's a big deal.
"It's interfering with our working lives, those that are on the committee."
Mr Begley said he had seen an increase in march participation in recent years, particularly with school aged children.
Club vice-president Kevyn Williams said he couldn't understand the logic given there had been no COVID cases in the area.
"I can't understand the reason behind it, this area here has been so COVID free ever since it started, but across the river it's all good to go," Mr Williams said.
Mr Williams doubts Wodonga veterans will march in Albury.
"There are people such as the Vietnam veterans, which I'm one of, who have refused to march because they can't march behind their banners," he said.
"It's annoying because we have a tradition in the military of mateship and being able to march behind your banners with your mates is a part of that
"That's unfortunate for Wodonga, because we've got nearly 2000 veterans who want to march with their mates on the day."
Navy veteran Peter Derriman is concerned a march on the other side of the Border will hurt the RSL club's turnout on the day.
"It might affect the club quite a degree if everyone goes over the border and doesn't come back," he said.
Mr Derriman said it was a shame Wodonga veterans would miss out on the march given with the current conversation around veteran's mental health and suicides
"It's a shame because it's an extra thing that's affecting people," he said.
"It's a great feeling as you walk along the street and people give you a clap."
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