Students turn out in greater numbers for Anzac Day services
PALMERIN St was a sea of onlookers yesterday for the 2013 Anzac Day parade, which this year boasted even greater numbers of school students, along with a strong contingent of veterans.
Guest speaker Major Geoff Pickering took the salute at the Town Hall along with Mayor Peter Blundell and Warwick RSL Sub-Branch president John Skinner.
The 17 ACU Cadets guarded the Leslie Park Cenotaph in the April sunshine as the Diggers' Column marched into the park.
School of Total Education students Molli Devine and Lauren Yuile read the resolutions before Maj Pickering - who with his wife Denise retired to Warwick in 2012 - addressed the gathering, speaking movingly of Australia's involvement in international conflicts not as an aggressor, but rather as a last resort in defence of liberty after "a failure of diplomacy".
With a background of community involvement in the welfare of returned soldiers, Maj Pickering urged those paying homage on Anzac Day to offer help to those in need.
"I myself have been too late on a couple of occasions when veterans I knew of were in need," he said.
"Please, if you know of a veteran who needs assistance do not hesitate to offer it, before it's too late."
Maj Pickering also made a mention of past battles in which Australian troops had triumphed against vastly superior numbers, including the famous Light Horse charge at Beersheba in 1917, Kapyong in the Korean War and Long Tan in Vietnam.
"Don't look elsewhere for heroes - they are plenty already here," he said.
"At Kapyong the 3rd Battalion RAR, along with a Canadian battalion and New Zealand artillery, faced repeated assaults from some 11,000 Communist troops, with a loss of 32 men killed," he said.
"At Long Tan, just 100 Australians fought off an enemy numbering 2500, with just 20 men killed and 20 injured, and 1000 enemy dead.
"On all of these occasions, our men were faced with astonishingly larger forces and their apparently miraculous actions helped to change the course of those wars.
"Perhaps there was some higher power looking after them, along with their courage and training - remember them in your prayers."
A short time later the Diggers' Column took part in the uniquely-Warwick 'Fade Away Ceremony' in which the column passed through the ranks of students from our high schools, to the applause of the crowd and the strains of 'Auld Lang Syne', played by the Warwick City Band.