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An Anzac Day to remember

Tuesday, 27th April, 2010

Sunday, Anzac Day, was a day to remember the heroes who had given their lives in service of the country, the survivors, the widows and families who had been left behind.

Close to a thousand people made a special effort to do just that, lining Argent Street to stand guard in commemoration of the city's veterans and their descendants. The traditional march was led by a police escort with bystanders giving applause to the city's heroes of war. Local RSL President president John Bacich addressed those gathered at the Argent Street memorial, saying it was heartening to see such a large attendance of the younger generation. He introduced Pastor John Curtis, who read a poem by Clyde Hamilton and asked the crowd to bow their heads in prayer to give thanks to those who sacrificed everything for their country. Mr Bacich then presented the crowd with a simple message, Anzac Day was a day for reflection. "This is a day of reflection, of remembrance, of respect and of renewal," he said. "Our Anzac forebearers would be quite proud of Australia today. "They knew better than we ever could, that nationhood was born out of sacrifice. "Nationhood is sustained by an enduring commitment to a set if ideals and values," he said. An Australian characteristic Mr Bacich also spoke about was the mateship which was a driving force behind sacrifice. "Mateship is at the heart of what we refer to as the Anzac values: it drives loyalty, courage, endurance and sacrifice." Mr Bacich asked those present to spare a thought for today's servicemen and women who fight to protect their country, and to be grateful for the freedoms given to us by the brave soldiers of past and present. "As we gather here today to remember and reflect on the opportunities and freedoms they have bequeathed to us, those who we revere today would be comforted in knowing that Australians remember and honour their sacrifice," he said. Broken Hill High School captains Jordan King and Stephanie McKenzie then gave the schools' address. Jordan asked the crowd to give a moment's reflection to the lives lost by the brave men and women who have fought in all wars. Jordan said he hoped that more people in his age group acknowledged the turmoil that the Anzacs suffered in order to give freedom to all Australians. "We understand that the freedom, the life we live in this lucky country is the direct result of the sacrifice of others in the past," he said. Jordan also spoke about the "monumental expression" surrounding the Anzacs, "Lest We Forget". "Lest means 'for fear that'. What does Anzac have to do with fear?" asked Jordan. "As the voice of youth, the new generation, I would like to say this to the older generation: fear not. We appreciate the sacrifice, we understand the importance of the message, we know the task entrusted to us," he said. "We will not fail." In an enlightening address fellow school captain Stephanie McKenzie told the crowd that Anzac Day was a time to honour those who bravely sacrificed their lives. She spoke of the social impact war could have on a country. "One of the greatest social changes that occurred during World War One was that while the men were gone the women became the head of the household," she said. They faced many daunting responsibilities, she said. Stephanie also spoke about the tragedy of the impact war had on families and that their suffering must not be forgotten. "We must not forget the caring women who took on great roles and responsibilities to ensure the soldiers were brought home safely." Stephanie said: "Today we show our gratitude and our respect. Lest We Forget." Mr Bacich then read the Ode to the Fallen, followed by the Last Post which was played by bugler Peter Keenan. The ceremony concluded with a minute's silence and the singing of Advance Australia Fair to music by the BIU Band. Mayor Wincen Cuy said afterwards that he was pleased with community support for the occasion, which saw the largest crowd for many years. "It was a fabulous day, the utter respect (shown by the crowd) shows the community spirit," said Mr Cuy. "(Anzac Day) deserves the turnout that it received." Despite the mild weather one member of the crowd was overcome and fainted. St John Ambulance service members were on hand to provide first aid and the ambulance arrived shortly after to take the man to hospital.

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