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Anzac Day spirit felt around Australia
25 April, 2010
Australians have observed the first Anzac Day devoid of the World War I generation that created it.
Now their thoughts are turning to how best to honour a century of sacrifice five years from now.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd chose the 95th Anzac Day to announce a commission, including former PMs Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke, to advise the government on ways to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in 2015.
It promises to be a landmark moment in Australian history, given the central position Gallipoli has assumed in the national psyche.
The final chapter of Australia's Great War generation closed only last June with the death of 110-year-old Victorian Jack Ross, the last survivor of the 416,000 Australians who enlisted.
Their absence was poignantly marked on Sunday when they were represented by a lone horse in Sydney's Anzac Day parade.
At services around the nation and the world, they were remembered among the 1.8 million Australians to serve their country in military campaigns and the 102,000 to make the ultimate sacrifice.
In Afghanistan, Australian troops observed Anzac Day on ground newly captured from the Taliban.
Veterans of Iraq led the march in Adelaide for the first time.
In another first, a Turkish flag flew alongside the Australian flag at the cenotaph in Brisbane, and an Australian ensign accompanied the New Zealand flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Officials from both Anzac nations mourned the deaths of three air force personnel on a military helicopter which crashed on its way to an Anzac Day service in the NZ capital, Wellington.
At Gallipoli, Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce spoke emotionally of the first Anzacs and their Turkish foes, saying: "We are in awe of what they did".
But she said love was at the heart of Anzac Day - "love of every kind, love of nation, love of service, love of family".
Love gave meaning to human triumph and defeat, to forgive and learn from successes and failures.
"It reminds us of why we must never forget, let go of Anzac Day," Ms Bryce said.
In France, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith spoke at the dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux, liberated by diggers on the eve of Anzac Day 1918.
"What Australians did here started a bond of friendship between Australia and France which is unshakable and unbreakable," said Mr Smith, who has two relatives among the estimated 11,000 Australians who went missing on the Western Front during the Great War.
Defence Minister John Faulkner told Australian troops in Afghanistan there was a common thread that ran from Gallipoli to Tarin Kowt via the fields of France, the jungles of New Guinea, via Burma and Timor, Korea and Vietnam.
"It is the thread of men and women such as yourselves stepping forward to accept the risk and bear the responsibility for our nation's security," he said.
In Canberra, Mr Rudd said the carnage of World War I, in which 60,000 Australian soldiers died, also made Australia a warrior of peace.
"No longer we will leave ourselves to become mere cannon fodder for foreign generals," he said.
"If fight we must then all speed to the action. But as a nation, we strain every sinew for peace because there is no romance in the mud and blood of a war."
In Sydney, the first Victoria Cross for Australia winner said Anzac Day was growing in strength, aided by young Australians understanding its true spirit.
"I don't think it has lost meaning at all," Trooper Mark Donaldson said.
"We need to continue that tradition and remember those guys that have been before us."
Melbourne mother Lynda Brown said her seven-year-old son Callum had an obsession with war history.
"I thought it was a good for him to come along and hopefully get rid of the romanticism of war and hear some stories and see that some people are upset," she said.
By Doug Conway - Nine News