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Merredin Community Honour Veterans at Dawn Service

Published on Thursday, 4 May 2023 at 3:33:56 PM

The 25th of April is a solemn occasion that holds significant importance for many Australians and New Zealanders. It’s a day we honour the ANZACs who fought at Gallipoli and in the first World War, as well as those who have since worn our country's uniform in service.

Hundreds of people, young and old, braved the cold winter morning to gather at the Merredin Cenotaph for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service. At 5.45am a parade marched down Barrack Street from the Post Office to where the crowds waited patiently to welcome them. Bagpipes sounded throughout the streets as the procession reached the Cenotaph where the service was due to commence at 6:00am.

Mal Willis took to the lectern to welcome those in attendance, before commencing his opening speech.  “We gather here at this early hour on this day, every year to honour the gallant memory of those men and women who willingly sacrificed and risked their lives in the fight for safety and freedom,” he said.

Following the Opening Welcome of Service, Reverend David de Kock from the Churches Fraternal was invited to lead the ANZAC and Lord’s Prayers, before community groups, organisations and individuals were invited forward to lay a wreath or a sprig of rosemary as a symbol of commemoration and a sign of respect.

Vietnam Veteran Aub Tompkin came forward to recite the Ode. He stood tall, his chest adorned with medals. His voice, raw with emotion, lingered as he recited the words that have become synonymous with Anzac Day.

As the first light of dawn began to break through the sky, a lone bugle sounded. The haunting notes of The Last Post echoed through the crisp air, a reminder of the sacrifice made by those who had served their country. The crowd then stood in silence for a minute, paying their respects to the fallen soldiers and reflecting on the significance of their sacrifice.

The crowd was treated to the incredible voice of Jade Healey-Ratima, as she proudly sung the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems, before Mal Willis returned to the lectern to conclude the service. Those in attendance were invited to the Cummins Theatre for a Gunfire Breakfast, kindly sponsored by Collgar Renewables and cooked by the Merredin Men’s Shed.

The Shire would like to thank the Commemorative Committee – Aubrey Tompkin, Mal Willis, Rob Endersbee, Ross Duffield, and Su Riley for their commitment to the working group and efforts to plan this event every year. It is greatly appreciated by all the community.  

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