Tamworth Anzac Day 2017 - Dawn service

Tamworth’s 2017 Anzac Day

A KOOKABURRA’s laugh pierced the sombre silence over East Tamworth as thousands crowded around the memorial gates of Anzac Park in the early hours of this morning.

Tamworth RSL Sub-Branch president Bob Chapman considered it a somewhat fitting soundtrack for a morning dedicated to the service of Australian men and women.

Mr Chapman reminded the sizable crowd that Anzac Day was not about glorifying war and celebrating its victors, rather it serves to honour the bravery of all who have served their country.

On April 25, 1915, Australian troops landed on the shores of Gallipoli, while the legends and stories from that battle have been commemorated for many years since, Mr Chapman said the wars still go on for many.

“Since my generation of Vietnam veterans and onwards, military has really had a clearly defined enemy or that infamous front line,” he said.

“Today, this war on terrorism spreads over many countries and many nations and seems to be a never ending battle.

“Statistics seem to indicate that nearly two thirds more or wounded in action than those that are killed.

“War and conflict for them, the wounded, never ends, as their physical and mental scars will remain their curse for life.”

The growing crowds at Tamworth’s dawn service over the years have “never ceased to amaze” the sub-branch president.

Mr Chapman said it was hard to pinpoint what was behind the growing participation in the early morning service, but said he had noticed a growing sense of patriotism.

“The schools are putting a lot into the younger generation and educating them about our military history and heritage,” he said.

“The patriotism is growing.”

Next year will mark 100 years of the Tamworth RSL Sub-Branch and one century since the end of World War I.

The RSL already has its eyes forward to the big celebration in 2018.

“We’re hoping to have the Governor of NSW with us and celebrate with a ceremony and a formal dinner and dance that night,” he said.

“Like 2015, I think it will be a bigger crowd.”