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A new Anzac Day dawned

Nanjing Night Net

OUR TIME TO SAY “THANK YOU”: The chill of an Autumn dawn was given a warm glow with an inspiring turnout for the first service of the day in Lithgow’s Queen Elizabeth Park. A few years ago adawn service would attract only the most dedicated; these days there are ever increasing numbers who see it as a duty. There were similar scenes at dawn services at Portland, at Sunny Corner andin the neighbouring Blue Mountains. Portland and Wang photos page four. Photo JEFF GEDDES

WHEN across the Lithgow region we gathered in our hundreds yesterday to commemorate the spirit of Anzac, there were all the usual and unavoidable cliches and speeches about sacrifice and the folly of war.

But the true meaning of the day was not in the speeches and the ceremonials — it was in the sheer numbers of people who had nothing to say but said it all anyway just by turning up to stand in silent remembrance.

It was the same around the impressive cenotaph in Lithgow Queen Elizabeth Park, in Wolgan Street at Portland, beside the railway corridor at Wallerawang and Rydal, at a clearing in the native Australian bush at Lowther, at the simple monument in the village at Tarana and beside the Castlereagh Highway at Cullen Bullen and Capertee.

Everywhere the message was the same and simple — ‘thank you’.

It was the same in the neighbouring Blue Mountains towns.

That was Anzac Day, a time for recollection and tribute where silent reflection says as much as a familiar speech.

Once again it was obvious that age has not wearied the nation’s dedication to all that Anzac Day represents.

As the years go by the numbers of marching veterans dwindle while the crowds recognising their sacrifices continue to grow in number.

Just how remarkable, and even inspiring, is it that so many people of all ages are prepared to get out of bed in the darkness to greet an always chilly sunrise for dawn services?

If it wasn’t another record attendance in Lithgow yesterday it must have been close to it.

Later in the morning they turned out to do it all again with hundreds of others for the main service.

The parade and wreath laying included youngsters from district schools who gave up a day in their holidays to represent the next generation of Australians to continue the Anzac Day tradition.

Speeches focussed on familiar themes and the acknowledgement that despite past sacrifices it is still a troubled world.

The implication was clear; perhaps some day those youngsters taking part in the remembrance will one day attend an Anzac Day where those making the familiar speeches will truly be able to declare that the sacrifices of the past and present were not in vain after all.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.