April 25 is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand. This day is the anniversary of Australia’s first major army battle fought at Gallipoli by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War 1. The majority of Australians, including myself feel this is the most important national occasion of the year.

 

 

At Dawn on April 25 1915 the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landed at Gallipoli Peninsula and unexpectedly came under fierce military fire from the Turkish Troops. In the months that followed thousands of young Anzacs lost their lives or were wounded in this difficult, poorly coordinated campaign.

lidcombe 2014

 War memorial at Remembrance Park Lidcombe

  

Anzac Day commemorations began in 1916 with tribute marches. Over the years Anzac Day has developed to become a national day of remembrance where all Australian soldiers from all wars are acknowledged for their sacrifices.

 

llidcombe dawn service

Australian service personnel at Lidcome Dawn Service 2014

 

 It has become tradition to attend one of community Dawn Services held in the early hours of the morning across the country.  Australians proudly attend these services regardless of age or culture to give thanks for the freedom we enjoy today.

 

n p portrait  dad  u barry

 My Grandfather, Ernie Giles, WW2 ;  My Father, John Williams, Korea ; My Uncle, Barry Giles, Vietnam

 

Anzac day is important to me as I grew up in a family of returned servicemen. My Grandfather was in the navy during World War II, my father served in the air force during the Korean War and my uncle went to war in Vietnam.  Even though I wasn’t born during these conflicts, and I was too young to remember Vietnam, as a young child I heard stories from these men about their military service. They showed great pride of their service history. The pride they shared did not come without a price.  Many of the war stories I heard as a child were quite tragic and I know some memories haunted my father and grandfather throughout their lives.  It was fortunate for our family that these three men made it home.

 

pa writing   n p ad march

My grandfather sent this postcard to my grandmother during WW2.  He was extremley proud of his medals.

 

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My Grandfather served on the HMAS Waterhen during WW2

 

The commitment from my family continues with my brother. During his late teens my older brother spent a period of time in the Army Reserve. My earliest memory of Anzac Day involves my brother during the seventies. My 17 year old brother, dressed proudly in his uniform, adorned the front page of the local newspaper following his participation in the Dawn Service and Anzac March of 1978. This photo from that newspaper article shows him standing respectfully in front of the Parkes War Memorial.

 

shane 70s  shane singleton  sa car

My Brother Shane Williams Parkes Dawn Service 1978 & at Singleton with the CMF (Army Reserve). Shanes wife now displays their Anzac pride on her car.

 

Today I attended our local Dawn service at Lidcombe with my three children aged 22, 20 and 8. We were joined by a good cross section of the community in healthy numbers. This year the local schools were involved in the ceremony, it was pleasing to hear what Anzac Day means to young Australians. I will admit, attending this service makes me feel quite emotional. 

 

pa uncle       u barryvv  Barry VV

My Grandfather and Uncle Barry during the early 1980's, Uncle Barry more recently as a Vietnam Veteran

 

Following today’s service the majority of the crowd attended a post ceremony breakfast sponsored by one of the local clubs. Our breakfast was very different to what those young Anzacs would have received in trenches of Gallipoli in 1915.

 

anzac breakfast

 Breakfast at Dooley's Lidcome after todays Dawn Service

 

I am proud of my family's defence service history.We must never lose our sense of gratitude for the sacrifices that have been made by all the Anzacs of our nation.

 

pa cert

 

Lest we forget.