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Legacy continues

Monday, 28th April, 2008

The city paid solemn tribute to the bravery and heroism of its fallen servicemen and women on Friday, as locals gathered to watch the procession of the Anzac Day march.

Hundreds lined Argent Street in a guard of honour for the city's veterans and their descendents, a symbol of respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in times of war and conflict.

At the completion of the march the crowd was addressed by Pastor John Curtis, who told the story of local World War One serviceman Alex Wright.

Mr Curtis said he discovered Mr Wright's grave at a Beersheba cemetery in former Palestine, and began researching his story.

Mr Wright was a colourful character who had served in the Light Horse Brigade and 3rd Battalion Imperial Camel Corps, and was an example of the ordinary people who had laid down their life for their country, Mr Curtis said. 

"Alex is not written up as a hero who saved a hundred lives. He is not noted for his incredible courage and bravery under enemy fire. It doesn't say he routed a battalion of the enemy soldiers," said Mr Curtis.

"In extraordinary times he did an extraordinary job as an ordinary bloke. It's to men like Alex Robertson Wright we owe an extraordinary debt that can never be repaid.

"He and thousands of other ordinary people paid an incredible price that we could live in this wonderful country and enjoy the freedom and peace we know."

Broken Hill High School Captain Raymond Barlow then gave a youthful perspective on the meaning of Anzac Day, and predicted that the Anzac Spirit would continue to stand the test of time.

"As you look around today you will notice a mixture of both age and youth, and I believe this is a positive testament to what Anzac Day represents," he said.

"A day in which everyone is brought together and is able to share and listen to stories of mateship and comeradery and pass on this wisdom to the younger generation.

"In years to come unfortunately the nature of life will cause changes to our Anzac Day parade, but I am positive the Anzac Spirit will remain strong as ever, as more medals move to the right side of the chests.

"I know as I wear my grandfather's medals today, that they will be worn with just as much pride and importance that was shared by their original owners."

The Last Post was played by bugler Peter Keenan to a silent crowd, before RSL Broken Hill Sub Branch President John Bacich gave the closing address.

"To all Australians Anzac Day is a tradition paid for in blood and celebrated in our freedom," he said.

"Australians come together every Anzac Day to remember not only the Anzacs, but all other men and women who went on to fight in the frightful battles, the airmen who have flown in many hazardous missions, the sailors and submariners who were away from home for long periods on hazardous missions, and we remember those that became POWs.

"We remember that these people were ordinary Australian men and women, prepared to make personal sacrifices, many giving their lives for the freedom and quality of life that we enjoy today.

"Today all of us need to be vigilant that our society remains one that values freedom, tolerance and a fair go for all. We need to maintain a sense of courage and perseverance to get through the tough times.

"The Anzacs continually showed this humanity and compassion. They did not care where a person came from, their religion, or the colour of their skin - only that they did their job well."

At the completion of ceremonies, RSL Secretary Des Kennedy thanked the people of Broken Hill for their strong support.

"We believe it's been a terriffic roll up, Broken Hill has shown its true colours in honouring the vets of all wars and conflicts," he said.

"The Broken Hill people should be proud that they stood up for those who stood up and were counted."

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