Anzac Parade in Gympie
Anzac Parade in Gympie

Lest we forget: Soldiers' legacy lives on

AN ESTIMATED 3000 people lined Mary St on Thursday to pay their respects on Anzac Day.

Gympie RSL Sub-Branch president Frank Bontoft thought the crowd gathered for the Anzac march through the street, which progressed to Memorial Park for the citizens' meeting afterwards, managed to build on last year's special event.

Mr Bontoft said while he had taken part in Anzac celebrations in several towns, "never" had he seen a response to the event like that of Gympie's.

"The whole town gets behind it," he said.

The sea of onlookers filling Mary St honoured the Anzacs as hundreds of marchers, including veterans, families of war, nurses, school students and a marching band, made their way to Memorial Park.

One Second World War veteran made his way by foot as his fellow servicemen of the era returned smiles and waves to the crowd while riding military jeeps and vintage cars.

Mr Bontoft said around 20 Second World War veterans remained in the region, but many of those unable to march themselves were represented by their families in the touching procession.

One heart-warming tribute to a family member was made by a man carrying a toddler, marching with his family as he held proudly the portrait of a relative serviceman of the past.

Memories flowed for those whose eyes had seen the battlefield and the sight of a Second World War veteran climbing into a military jeep for the procession, just as he did as a young soldier, was a reminder of the veteran's first-hand Anzac experience.

Gympie Times


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