DAWN broke over almost 1000 people who gathered at the cenotaph in Cannonvale to commemorate ANZAC Day 2012. On this 97th anniversary of the landings at Anzac Cove, Whitsunday residents including 50 servicemen and ex-servicemen, stood together in the pre-dawn light to honour those Australians and New Zealanders who have contributed so much to the identity of our nations through their services in the armed forces.
Airlie Beach Whitsunday RSL Sub-Branch president Terry Brown said it was "a fantastic turnout" and particularly noted the number of children in attendance.
"Today we remember not only good mates, but those who have been and still are involved in conflict," he said.
Flight Lieutenant David McCarron from 452 Squadron was a guest speaker at both the dawn and main services in Airlie Beach. His overall message was that "Australians are different because of ANZAC Day".
"The actions of these men forged what has become known as the ANZAC spirit," he said.
"And what does the ANZAC spirit mean? I believe it means a number of qualities including courage, sacrifice and self-reliance and in Australian terms, mateship and a fair go."
Newly elected MP Jason Costigan and Whitsunday Regional Councillor Jan Clifford also made official speeches, with Cr Clifford paying particular homage to our servicemens' families.
"I believe our debt of gratitude to those left behind is just as great as that owed to those Australians who have gone to war and paid the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for the peace we now enjoy, as is our obligation to those who may now need our help," she said.
Lest we forget.