Students a delight to Diggers
The record number of school children was a sight "to warm the cockles of the old Diggers' hearts", President of the Murwillumbah RSL sub branch, Derek Sims, said yesterday at Murwillumbah ANZAC Day service.
With a crowd of about 2000 gathered around the War Memorial Mr Sims said he was heartened to see the young people proudly wearing the medals of their forefathers.
Ten schools attended, along with the Scouts and the Pathfinders.
Students from Murwillumbah East marched, despite vandals destroying their banners and musical equipment the night before.
Mr Sims said Australia was the only nation that celebrated a defeat.
"But it is not so much a celebration as a commemoration of those who fought. It's not a glorification of war," he said.
Tweed Valley College helped with the service, with year 12 student Carly Moulds saying that Anzac Day, while it was a time to honour those who fought, it was also a time to reject the fear of terrorism that some wished to impose upon us.
The service was backed by the Murwillumbah Philharmonic Singers who performed war songs as wreaths were placed around the memorial and an old plane from the Murwillumbah Aero Club flew overhead.
Many in the crowd were parents of school children.
Andy Wray of Murwillumbah, whose daughter marched, said she was not a regular Anzac Day attendee.
"But I think it's important for my daughter to experience Anzac Day and I have talked to her about it being a peace march," Mrs Wray said.
Kerry Kaleyias had two children marching while another had attended the Dawn Service.
"I'm here because my children are here, and I think the current world situation has heightened the interest in ANZAC Day," Mrs Kaleyias said.
But for the ex-servicemen there was only one reason they were there ? to remember their mates. With the service declared "the best ever" they were off for some comradeship at the Murwillumbah Ex-services Club.