Sights and sounds that brought us to tears in Gympie today
WHETHER it was the perfect autumn weather, the uncertain times we live in, or something indefinable, Gympie outdid itself today as about 10,000 people turned out to be a part of Anzac Day.
Like no other day, Anzac Day is powerful, uniting, and at times overwhelming. It is the one day of the year this nation really comes together in a shared moment of poignant pride and remembrance.
Watching the little drummers from Gympie South help lead-off the main parade down Mary Street brought a prickle of tears; then came the diggers. Oh boy. The sight of those once young men who went off or were sent off to fight old men's wars stir the emotions. Of course, they are the lucky ones. They are still with us.
Up to 5000 are estimated to have attended the Dawn Service in Memorial Park, and a record crowd was at Normanby Hill. Powerful stuff when they played the ever haunting Last Post while the fog swirled in the pre-dawn and early morning light.
So many children, their solemn little faces full of respect and awe as they placed poppies on the cenotaph after the service, and our community leaders laid wreaths at its base.
In the Mary St parade, while it was impossible to not be moved by the diggers, there were plenty of other things happening to stir the emotions.
Hundreds of school students showing their patriotism and respect, marching in uniform and some joining forces to play Waltzing Matilda or marching music; dads walking in the parade, their toddlers hoisted on their shoulders - one dad's little one rode a wooden horse and wore a slouch hat several sizes too big.
Through it all - the heat and the crowd - there was not a tantrum to be witnessed.
And then the goose bump moment when the F/A-18 Hornet flew over, seemingly just above the roofs of Gympie.