While the rain dogged the city’s dawn service and saw its Anzac Day march cancelled, it didn’t deter the spirits of Griffith’s veterans who were out in force to mark the solemn day, knowing firsthand its importance.
The city’s WWII veterans sat front row during the traditional service held to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by many, this year held at the Griffith Ex-Servicemen’s club.
Herbert Fitzroy ‘Roy’ Stacy, 96, was a soldier with the Royal Australian Air Force during WWII and had a lucky escape, after his unit was moved from Darwin just two weeks before the city’s bombing.
Part of family that has given an excess of service to Australia’s armed forces Mr Stacy’s father was a WWI veteran while one brother Doug served in Vietnam and another in Korea.
That brother, Donald Stacy, who spent 12 months as an infantryman with the Army in Korea, came all the way from Sydney to join his only surviving brother for the Anzac Day commemorations of their home city.
For him the day was a chance for him to reflect on his own luck and to remember those who didn’t make it.
“I served in Korea, I was on the front line in the infantry,” he said.
“I did what I had to do and I was one of the lucky ones.
“Anzac Day means a lot to me, especially because of my father and his service in the First World War, he was actually on a train on the way to the front line when peace was declared.”
For WWII local veteran Reg Gilbert the day is similarly a chance to remember the service given by the men he served alongside.
“It brings back the memories,” he said.
“I takes me back and I think about all of the things that happened.
“I am one of the lucky ones.”
For years Mr Gilbert made the journey to Sydney to march on Anzac Day in order to walk alongside the men of his unit, however as the years passed the 80 strong regiment who returned home has dwindled down to leave just two.
While the reminder of the senseless loss of lives that was WWI was obvious to all as the city’s high school students read out the names and ages of men from the area killed while fighting overseas – the service also presented a reminder of the loss felt by many Indigenous veterans on returning home unacknowledged.
Addressing the crowd, guest speaker Madison Penrith recounted a story her own great-grandmother had told her of her uncle William Williams’ treatment upon returning home from war.
"He couldn’t go for a drink with his servicemen,” she said.
“He had to stand outside while everyone else went in.”