TAMWORTH young veteran Rebecca Linich can understand why some ex-service women have never marched.
“I’ll always remember my first Anzac Day,” Ms Linich said.
“I turned up and all I could see was a sea of men. I felt very isolated and I was thinking about not marching.
“A group of ex-service women got me and I marched with them.”
This year, Ms Linich and other female veterans will be marching up the front of Tamworth’s Anzac Day parade.
The move is part of a campaign called By The Left, which aims to broaden the public’s perception of what a veteran looks like.
Fellow Tamworth veteran Libby Ryman has been asked on a couple of occasions whose medals she was wearing.
“I’ve had to explain to them that they’re mine,” Ms Ryman said.
“I joined when I was 19, and while I only served six year, I did two Gulf deployments and a humanitarian aid mission in Sumatra.
“I saw an awful lot in that time frame.”
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While in the past, the armed forces was a male dominated career, Ms Ryman said that wasn’t the case anymore.
“Now women are so involved in so many different areas of the defence force, and they’re on deployment participating in activity duty, so they’re earning those medals,” she said.
Ms Linich wants to pay forward the act of kindness that was shown to her all those years ago and had a message to local female veterans.
“Don’t be like me, come and meet us at the front of the march, introduce yourself and we’ll look after you,” she said.
“We should be proud of what these women have done. They’ve step up when others haven’t and that’s something we should be very proud of.”
Ms Ryman wants the community to get behind the movement and embrace their female veterans.
She also hopes young women in the crowd will feel empowered by the show of unity.
“That’s going to be a highlight, letting other young women know that if they want to join the defence force, there are opportunities to do that and that they’ll be recognised for their service,” Ms Ryman said.