25 April 2024

Thousands take to Baylis Street to honour our Anzacs

| Jarryd Rowley
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Leading off with ex-servicemen on horseback, thousands of Wagga residents attended the annual Anzac Day Parade. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

With this year marking 110 years since the beginning of World War I, thousands of Wagga Wagga residents flocked to Baylis Street to commemorate Australia and New Zealand’s servicemen and women.

Anzac Day commemorations began with a traditional Dawn Service at the Wagga Wagga Memorial Gardens, honouring the same time that the first Anzacs landed at Gallipoli in World War I.

As the sun rose and people stood in solemn silence, all who attended remembered those who had served and sacrificed.

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At 10 am, thousands flocked to the main street of Wagga Wagga for the annual Anzac Parade, which included veterans from World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and more.

The applause of the crowd continued for nearly 20 minutes as the families and friends of servicemen and women who had served, marched on in a proud and distinguished manner.

Following the march, Wagga Wagga RSL Sub-branch president Rod Cooper spoke just outside the Eternal Flame at Victory Memorial Park on the importance of ANZAC Day and why we continue to honour them.

“The march was absolutely spectacular,” Mr Cooper said graciously.

“On Anzac Day, we remember and honour the sacrifice of those who have served our nation. We are proud of our Anzac legacy.

“We identify that on the 25th of April 1915, Australia changed. Young men and women of that generation joined the services in increasingly large numbers. In World War I, our nation experienced loss at a disproportionately higher rate than other countries.

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“But from that devastation grew an Australian identity that has guided and, in so many ways, defined our national character.

“We talk about the Anzac legacy having four characteristics that define Australia. Mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice.

“Today, those characteristics and the Anzac legacy should serve three purposes. To call on us to thank those earlier generations for their sacrifice, to energise us in looking after our most recent veterans and to inform us of those earlier generations would expect of us today.”

Sienna-May and her friend Abby were honoured to lay a wreath after the march. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Honouring the Anzac legacy today was nine-year-old Sienna-May Jones, who walked in today’s parade as part of the guides.

Sienna said she was honoured to be able to lay a wreath at Victory Memorial Gardens following the march, and hopes she will be able to do it again in the future.

“Today, we remember the lives of the people who served Australia,” she said.

“It was a memorable day and it felt really good to be part of something so special.”

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