IT WAS a day to show respect for our fallen Diggers – the young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom and liberties we take for granted.
And the northern region did not disappoint. Ninety-nine years on, thousands flocked to dawn services, marches and other commemorative Anzac Day services across the region yesterday to reflect on the past and what could have been had it not been for our brave forebears.
Current servicemen and women were not forgotten either, with former Tamworth man Captain Jason Sears of the Royal Australian Navy making a special note at the main Anzac Day service about the sacrifices of those serving in Afghanistan and their families back home.
In Tamworth, the Anzac spirit was palpable as war veterans and ex-service and serving military personnel were greeted with cheers and applause as they proudly marched down Bourke and Peel streets.
Earlier in the morning Armidale residents bowed their heads and paused to remember at a solemn dawn service at the memorial fountain in town.
In an equally moving dawn service, Glen Innes’s cadet unit formed a catafalque guard as The Last Post rang out.
As in recent years, the younger generation featured prominently at all Anzac Day events, despite it being the school holidays.
In Nundle, Walcha, Kootingal, Attunga, Werris Creek, Delungra and Quirindi, school children marched in the footsteps of Diggers and service personnel and helped lay wreaths.
In Tamworth a rumble could be heard before 18 CT4 planes from the Australian Defence Force’s Basic Flying Training School performed a dazzling flyover in tribute to Anzac Day – a highlight for many.
Later in the afternoon, thousands honoured Diggers in a more light-hearted way, dabbling in the time-honoured Australian tradition of two-up across the region’s pubs and clubs.