AS THE sun rose over Tamworth, a lone bugler, piper and kookaburras could be heard across the city as thousands of locals and visitors began their Anzac Day commemorations with the dawn service.
WREATH LAYING: Brianna Barber and Brooke Cowley from Carinya Christian School lay a wreath at yesterday’s dawn service in Tamworth. Photo: Barry Smith 250416BSA37
The service was not about glorifying war, but about recognising the commitment of Australian and New Zealand military personnel, war nurses and their families during times of conflict and peace.
Tamworth RSL Sub-branch president Bob Chapman said the “great irony of peace is you often have to fight for it”.
“More than one million Australians have joined our armed services in war and one million more have served at home,” he said.
“It’s a day of remembrance and paying homage and respect, particularly to those who fell and didn’t return. We remember the contribution of servicemen and women right through to today and respect their decision to fight for their country.”
Mr Chapman remembered various anniversaries that will be marked this year including the centenary of Fromelles and Pozieres on the Western Front, which will be honoured in July.
He said the battle of Fromelles was the worst day in Australian history with the death and injuring of so many men.
It is also the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in August, which Mr Chapman, a Vietnam War veteran himself, said was a time to remember all Vietnam veterans. They led the main march in Peel St yesterday.
Mr Chapman also spoke of those who served in Crete and Greece in World War II, Tobruk, Korea and those who have served more recently in Iraq, East Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.
“We pay homage to past and present service personnel,” Mr Chapman said.
“We owe a depth of gratitude to all those young men and women who took part and have served our country.”
As medals jingled on chests, ex-service and serving personnel, as well as school students and dignitaries, laid their floral tributes to those who fell and served in all wars.
“We mourn those who went out to the battlefields and did not return,” Mr Chapman said.
A special feature of this year’s dawn service was the flying of both the New Zealand and Australian flags and the singing of both countries’ national anthems.
“The New Zealand flag and anthem was really great,” Mr Chapman said.
“A mate of mine who I served with (in Vietnam) happened to mention (the flag and anthem) to me last year and we decided we would do it. It will now be a dawn service feature and so will the poem, It’s Anzac Day.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.