We will pause, reflect and remember them today
ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
The number of Australians attending Anzac Day services and parades each year continues to grow, and in the uncertain international climate created by the situations in Syria and North Korea, it will be no surprise to see a new record reached today.
Nothing fills Mary St, Normanby Hill and Memorial Park like Anzac Day.
It evokes powerful feelings of nationalism and gratitude for those who have served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. It is a day to reflect on the cost of war and to remember those who fought and lost their lives.
For the family of Corporal Ashley Birt, beloved Gympie son who was killed in 2011 in Afghanistan, it will no doubt be a difficult day. Our hearts go out to Linda, Don and Dale.
Only a small handful of Second World War veterans from the Gympie region remain with us, and the sight of them driving down Mary St is always a beautiful and stirring one. They are from a different era. For me personally, Anzac Day is very much about my late grandfather, "Poppy”, who served in the Second World War and used laughter and Bundy rum as his medicine.
I will remember him, as we will remember them.