Lest we forget

ALMOST 1000 people gathered at the Griffith Cenotaph as the sun spread its first rays for the dawn service.

While many more would pack into Banna Avenue to pay their respects at the Anzac Day march and following ceremony, a crowd of veterans and the community gathered to honour the peaceful moments before the dawn.

The dawn service commemorates the 'stand-to' before the dawn that would take place during battle to prepare for an attack and there are claims it was started by a Dawn Requiem at Albany in 1918.

The first official dawn service though came in 1928 when 150 people gathered at the Sydney Cenotaph for a wreath laying and two minutes of silence.

Like in many towns and cities across Australia, the dawn service in Griffith is attracting more and more people to pay their respects in the cold quiet of the last vestiges of night.

Anzac Day co-ordinator and Vietnam veteran Terry Walsh said it was encouraging to see so many young people in attendance.

"It was a great service and the biggest crowd we've ever had," he said.

"Once again, the younger generation surprised us all again with their attendance, it was great stuff."

The youth participation carried over to the Anzac march and service with hundreds of local students remembering those who had served or were currently serving.

"It was a fantastic service, a wonderful crowd, a colourful march and the participation by community members was fantastic," Mr Walsh said.

In what was the largest Anzac Day turnout Mr Walsh had seen, the community gathered around the Cenotaph in respectful silence under a beating Aussie sun as Father Rob Harris from the Anglican Church led them in prayer.

The Commemoration Address was delivered by Stuart McWilliam of McWilliam's Wines who grew from boy to man during the war years of the 1930s and 1940s.

Mr McWilliam shared stories of rations and sneaky wines with ladies of the Australian Women's Land Army, but most importantly he emphasised the importance of the war effort on the home front.

As the flag was raised to the haunting sound of the bugle, the community paid quiet tribute to those who sacrificed for their freedom.

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