• Loddon Herald

Communities give thanks

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

FROM dawn on ANZAC morning, people gathered at memorials across the Loddon expressing gratitude for the sacrifices made by generations of young Australians.

Local communities were able to once more be together - no crowd restrictions, unlike Melbourne.

And they came as families, members of community organisations, to support and thank veterans.

The defining defeat of Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli was at the heart of commemorations.

But so, too, were other significant anniversaries in Australia’s contribution to upholding freedom and democracy.

The crowd at Inglewood was reminded this year marks the 120th anniversary of the end of the Boer War - a conflict that saw colonies send their men to war, those same men to return as citizens of a new federated nation.

Dawn services at Bridge-water and Wedderburn started the day of observance across the Loddon .

Those services set a theme for others with the involvement of local school students.

Bridgewater’s Jaymee Bailey, a student at Creek Street Christian School, gave a reading as the sun started to peak above the horizon.

The crisp morning air - actually for ANZAC Day it was reasonably mild - allowed the bugle calls of Last Post and Rouse to echo far beyond the memorials.

While crowd numbers at dawn services were close to those of pre-COVID, others again continued the augmented tradition started last year of holding driveway or front gate vigils.

The dawn services were followed by gunfire breakfasts with inner-warming rum-infused coffee, another tradition passed on from soldiers at Gallipoli and on the Western Front more than a century ago.

Where the community had stood in silent support of veterans during the services, they were on the front line dispensing refreshments with military precision and humour following formal services throughout the day.

That’s where the stories were told, re-told and shared with family and friends, with the school children who had earlier placed wreaths at memorials and put into greater context teachings in the classroom over recent weeks.

The wreaths and freshly picked players will add colour to grey memorials in our local towns and districts for a few weeks. Some will wilt and blow away ... but the memories guiding our future will stay strong.


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