GALLERY: Thousands gather at Tweed Heads Dawn Service
THE gentle lapping of the waters of Jack Evans Boat Harbour served as a poignant link to the shores of Gallipoli during a minute's silence at the Tweed Heads Dawn Service this morning.
Around 3000 people, acknowledged by organisers as being "much bigger than last year”, attended the service which reflected on the sacrifices made by Australian and New Zealand service men and women dating back to World War 1 through to the country's involvement in Afghanistan.
As the crowd closed in on the memorial in Chris Cunningham Park, threatening skies held off to allow for a fly past (all be it a tad early) by a number of aircraft including a Huey helicopter.
The renewed interested by the community in marking Anzac Day, particularly the Dawn Service, was reflected in the age mix of people attending with the NSW school holidays providing an opportunity for families to come together to share the significance of the occasion.
Addresses were made by Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School student Natasha Bitancurt on the exploits of the Light Horse brigades and by Pacific Coast Christian School student Amanda Huxley on the little known but significant contribution to the First World War by the Royal Australian Navy's Bridging Train unit which served in the Gallipoli and Sinai and Palestine campaigns before being stood down in 1917.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest, in an emotional address, spoke of the commitment of Australians past and present, in particular those currently serving overseas and made special reference to two Tweed soldiers who paid the ultimate price while serving in Afghanistan - Rowan Robinson from Kingscliff and Nathan Bewes from Murwillumbah.
Mr Provest called on the community to continue to support current service men and women, the veterans from previous conflicts and their families.
The service concluded with the singing of both Australian and New Zealand national anthems by the men's singing group, The Blenders.