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Big crowd at ANZAC Day services

Wednesday, 27th April, 2011

STRONG SUPPORT: A large crowd attended the local ANZAC Day services on Monday. STRONG SUPPORT: A large crowd attended the local ANZAC Day services on Monday.

More than 1,000 people advanced on Argent Street on Monday for ANZAC Day.

An unusually large turnout greeted the city's veterans and their decedents who marched to commemorate the day, which is held to remember the heroes who have given their lives in service for their country, their survivors, the widows and family who were left behind.

At the commencement of the march, RSL Broken Hill president John Bacich told the crowd it was heartening to see an increase in people attending, especially from the younger generations.

Mr Bacich then introduced the Flying Padre, Reverend Jorge Rebolledo, who said a prayer.

Rev Rebolledo said ANZAC Day was a special day for the country to remember as a whole. He said many brave women and men gave their lives and, for this, we should remember them.

"We pray their labour and sacrifice will not be in vain," Rev Rebolledo said.

During his speech, Mr Bacich said ANZAC Day was not a day of military parades and power, it was a day of gatherings for veterans, reunions, services and community involvement.

"(It is) a day we honour great men and women and a great tradition," Mr Bacich said.

Mr Bacich said ANZAC Day was not about glorifying victories or defeats of war, but remembering that individuals were prepared to make personal sacrifices for the freedom and quality of life enjoyed today.

"Today we recall those Australians that have died or been injured in recent years on operations overseas protecting Australia and its national interests," Mr Bacich said.

During the dawn service Mr Bacich said ANZAC Day was about remembering those who paid the extreme sacrifice so that we can live in peace.

"Today we give a quiet reflection on what a wonderful, lucky nation we live in," he said.

Willyama High School captains Desley Edwards and Chris Vlatko also addressed the 11am Memorial service.

Desley said it was during the battle of Gallipoli, in World War I, that young Australians earned a reputation for courage, self-reliance and mateship.

"The experience drew Australians together as a nation and established an Australian character and set standards for all the soldiers, sailors and airmen who followed them in the First World War and in all subsequent wars," she said.

"At Gallipoli so many years ago, those young men and women found out what it is to be an Australian."

Chris echoed those sentiments and said that, as veterans continued to pass away, it was up to younger Australians to carry on their traditions.

"The Australian characteristics confirmed at Gallipoli must never be forgotten, and we need to reinforce them in our every day lives," he said.

"The ANZACS show us that Australians have a unique quality ... we have the ability to face challenges together and overcome them.

"Their actions forged what has become known as the ANZAC spirit."

The captains ended their speech with the Ode for the Fallen.

The Ode was followed by the Last Post, played by bugler Peter Keenan.

After the service, Mr Bacich said the attendance was excellent.

"(Attendance has been) excellent (at) both the dawn service and this one," he said.

"The Back to Broken Hill (reunion) swelled our ranks."

Mr Bacich said the turnout was the biggest he had seen in his 12 years as president of the RSL.

"I hope it keeps going the way it is."

Mayor Wincen Cuy said he thought the service was great.

"(We had) better numbers than last year," he said.

"I think the numbers have been increasing steadily over the past few years, the (Great Broken Hill) reunion also contributed (numbers) but the perfect day also contributed to it."

Mayor Cuy said he also felt a great amount of pride when he heard the Willyama High School captains talking and said he hoped the tradition could be upheld.

After the memorial service locals and visitors enjoyed a game of Two-up at the Musician's Club.

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