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Thousands gather for Sydney Anzac Day march

by April 25, 2016 General

Onlookers gathered two and three deep along Sydney’s Elizabeth Street to witness the annual Anzac Day march, which took an alternative route this year due to light rail works.

The crowd clapped and cheered the returned servicemen and women, many who were too frail to march and were pushed in wheelchairs or chauffeured in taxis.

The mild sunny weather bought many families and young people into the city for the march.

Four generations of Ileen Gordon-Smith’s family watched her husband walk in the Anzac Day March this morning.

Mrs Gordon-Smith, 88, said she has watched her husband David, 92, march in the event every year for 30 years and brought their children and grandchildren.

This year a great-grandson has come along too.

Mr Smith is one of three surviving members of his spotlights battalion, which fought in Papua New Guinea during World War II.

Mrs Smith, from Wollongong, said her father and her husband’s father fought in France during World War I.

“It’s important to remember them and the grandchildren should know about what happened too,” she said.

Kellie Aulmann said she bought her sons, five-year-old Thomas Aulmann and his four-year-old Ollie, because she wanted them to see their dad march and also see the many generations that had fought for Australia.

Both Mrs Aulmann and her husband, who is the commanding officer of HMAS Choules, have been in the Navy for more than 20 years

“It’s about people who fought in wars … so we could keep our freedom and not get attacked,” Thomas said.

“I learnt about it at school,” Ollie said.

Taira Malby said it is a shame more young people do not understand the importance of the contribution the Anzacs made.

“My boyfriend is in the Navy and my whole family too so I know that we need to support the Anzacs because they gave us our freedom,” she said.

Thousands gather for Martin Place dawn service

Early this morning thousands of people gathered for the dawn service at Martin Place in Sydney as police announced they had charged a teenager with planning an act of terrorism on the eve of the event.

On a chilly morning in Sydney’s centre, images were projected of the first generation of Anzacs, none of whom remain alive, onto sandstone buildings in Martin Place during the ceremony.

Jim Gilhooly, Anzac Day dawn service trust secretary, said the turnout was smaller than at last year’s service, but not by much.

“I love to see all the people that come out every year, young and old, it’s excellent.”

Young and old gather for service

Rosa Felkin and her husband Chris travelled from Brisbane to attend the Dawn Service.

Mr Felkin, who is 75, served in the Air Force, and he and his wife never miss a service, Ms Felkin said.

“He served in the Middle East, Kenya, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“I’m very proud he risked his life to save people, it’s always very emotional.”

Joshua Reynolds said members of his family fought in World Wars I and II and he was wearing their medals in their honour.

“It’s a sign of respect for my family to wear them,” he said.

“It shows I remember what they did.”

Joshua, who is from Taree, will be playing clarinet with the Sydney Youth Orchestra in a concert commemorating Anzac Day.

This year’s march is the 100th to commemorate the Anzacs.

The first march proper was held on the second-ever Anzac Day, in 1916.

Retired Service’s League NSW chief Rod White said this year was also the centenary of the RSL.

“We’re witnessing the passing of the baton, there will be two fewer World War II veterans this year,” he said.

Teenager arrested on terror charges

Speaking to the media at Martin Place, NSW Premier Mike Baird said he did not want news of a terrorism-related arrest and an increased police presence to overshadow the importance of the day.

“I think everyone is reminded of the wonderful job our police do … That’s exactly what we’ve seen again overnight,” he said.

He said it was important to remember that today was about commemorating fallen servicemen and people should focus on that.