TAMWORTH’S main street became a sea of people clapping and cheering veterans, serving personnel and school students for the Anzac Day march.
SEA OF PEOPLE: RSL Sub-branch president Bob Chapman leads the main Anzac Day march along Tamworth’s Peel Street yesterday. Photo: Barry Smith 250416BSD046
Hundreds of servicemen and women, families of veterans, school students and ex-service personnel marched, wheeled and rode down the street for the annual event.
The disappearing ranks of ex-service personnel is, however, a sombre reminder that there are fewer World War II, Vietnam War and Korean War veterans.
This year, being the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, the Vietnam War veterans led the march for the first time.
North West Vietnam Veterans Social Group president Wally Franklin said they were honoured to lead the march. There will be further commemorations in August to mark Vietnam Veterans Day.
Australian Defence Force Basic Flying Training School commanding officer Wing Commander Leigh Dunnett took the salute for the march and delivered the keynote address at the main service at the Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall.
The march saw 16 ADF BFTS CT-4B aircraft fly twice over Tamworth, and smaller towns, as a mark of respect and a show of solidarity from those currently serving.
Wing Commander Dunnett gave a background on the Gallipoli landings 101 years ago to the day and said the Anzacs fought with “great courage, skill and audacity”.
“Their true achievements were in their courage, determination, mateship and sacrifice,” he said.
He also paid tribute to those who had fought in battles and served in conflicts that followed in Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam , East Timor and the Middle East.
“The men who originally forged the Anzac spirit understood the values of independence, freedom and fairness,” Wing Commander Dunnett said.
“They possessed a willingness to defend these things with their lives. That is the spirit handed down to us. If we lose the Anzac spirit, we lose a lot.”
During his moving address, Wing Commander Dunnett also paid tribute to pilot Frank McNamara who, against all odds, got himself and a friend back to their home base and was awarded the only Victoria Cross that went to an Australian airman in World War I.
“Whether in the trenches of Gallipoli, or in the skies above, the qualities of mateship, honour, courage and resilience have infused themselves in all Australians,” he said.
Wing Commander Dunnett said Anzac Day was not a time to “glorify war or praise victors”, but a time to remember those who have served and are serving and to “reflect on their sacrifice and commitment”.
“Keeping the spirit of Anzac is the payment we make on a debt we can never repay,” he said.
The service also saw a display of floral tributes in the town hall as schools, community groups, the ADF and ex-service groups paid homage to those gone before.
Tamworth’s official Anzac commemorations concluded with an RSL luncheon at Wests.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.