Our freedom comes from the courage of the Anzacs
JUST one year short of the centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli, Warwick yesterday turned on the crowds and fine weather to mark the solemn commemoration of Australia's past wartime sacrifices.
Almost 1000 attended the dawn service in Leslie Park, which featured the 11th Light Horse Warwick Montrose Troop and a catafalque party from the 25th/49th Battalion.
The service was conducted by Baptist Church pastor Darren Muller and was followed by services at the War Graves Ceremony and Eden Gardens Memorial Park.
Leslie Park was again packed for the 11am ceremony and, following the wreath-laying, resolutions were read by The Scots PGC College co-captains Amelia Cowley and Ryan Peel.
Guest speaker Lieutenant Commander Lee Wells RAN (ret) reminded the crowd that Australia had lost service people in recent years as well as in older conflicts.
"If happiness is a product of freedom, then freedom is a product of courage," he said.
"We gather to commemorate, not celebrate, and to those who express surprise that Anzac Day services are still held across this country that it is part of the Australian psyche."
LCDR Wells said there was "something very Australian" about coming together to observe Anzac Day each April.
"Australia lost 60,000 in the First World War, with 8141 at Gallipoli alone," he said.
"We had 152,000 wounded and many more came home permanently scarred.
"As well as the First World War, Australia has been involved in armed conflicts in places as diverse as the Sudan, the North Atlantic, Belgium, France, Korea, Somalia and Vietnam, and places such as Afghanistan and Timor-Leste in more recent times.
"The Anzac tradition is as relevant today as it was in the years of grief which followed Gallipoli."
Prayers were led by St Mary's Catholic Parish priest Father Franco Filipetto, who spoke movingly of the use of music and song by service people on active duty.
"They had a need to nurture their spirit while they lived in the most appalling conditions," Fr Filipetto said.
"In so doing they became part of a much larger narrative - that of Good Friday and Easter which we have just celebrated. "