Youth in force at Dawn Service
THE Anzac spirit is alive and well among patriotic youths of the Tweed, according to a local priest.
A large turnout of children, teenagers and young adults at the Anzac Day dawn service at Chris Cunningham Park in Tweed Heads was a welcoming sight to Bilambil Heights Reverend John Wessell, a retired Uniting Church minister and ex member of the 41st Battalion.
“To the young people here today, if you follow the example embodied in this day you too will be part of Australia's astonishing and wonderful future,” Rev Wessell said during his service address.
“Australia is a good nation because of the company that is gathered here today.”
Nearly 3000 people were present as the sun broke over the horizon of the Pacific Ocean and bore down upon the water of Jack Evans Boat Harbour at approximately 5.50am on Saturday.
Children as young as five weeks old went with families to the ceremony to pay respects to relatives and friends who once served or currently serve in Australia's armed forces.
Rev Wessell said Anzac Day serves as a reminder of courage, sacrifice and responsibility.
“Anzac Day is the closest thing Australia has to a ritual of its own,” Rev Wessell said.
“It gives us a past that enables us to claim our history, projects us into the future and lets us live in hope.
“Today this ritual in which we all share helps us to pay tribute to the men and women who fought to save our nation in its times of need.”
Saturday's service was held at Chris Cunningham Park because the usual location Queen Elizabeth Park in Coolangatta is in the midst of an upgrade.
Other Anzac services were held around the Tweed at Burringbar, Kingscliff, Pottsville, Murwillum- bah, Tumbulgum, Tyalgum and Uki.
Patriots young and old gathered in droves to pay tribute at sunrise, some with the Australian flag draped over their shoulders.
Guests from neighbouring resorts watched from the balconies above.
The morning began with a per- formance by singing group The Blenders before the Silent March accompanied by the TS Vampire Naval Cadet Drum Corp.
Tweed Heads and Coolangatta RSL sub-branch president Joe Russell opened the service with a welcome.
Twin Towns Services Club chairman Michael Fraser and State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest also addressed the crowd before laying of wreaths from Tweed Heads and Coolangatta RSL sub-branch, Rats of Tobruk Gold Coast Branch and one on behalf of the people of the Tweed.
Some were moved to tears during the playing of The Last Post by bugler Ashley Lewis, followed by one minute's silence and a flyover by three aircraft from Air Gold Coast.
Banora Point High School Year 12 student Danielle Glanville led the crowd in a moving performance of the National Anthem to close the 30-minute service.