More than biscuits and parades

By CRAIG McTEAR

INGRID Kesa made a very public appeal in Coffs Harbour yesterday.

The year 12 Bishop Druitt College pupil told the big crowd at yesterday's Coffs Harbour Anzac Day service that for her the day was a 'time to think about diplomatic means to solving disputes and making the world a more peaceful place, for all generations'.

"The 25th of April is synonymous with more than biscuits, street parades and services under the hot sun," said Ingrid, who was the guest speaker at the service.

"To me, it's a celebration of the Australasian legend of the Anzac spirit that shines through every facet of contemporary Australian life."

She said the Anzacs at Gallipoli displayed 'unequalled values of courage, determination, initiative, fairness, and arguably, the most characteristic of Australian culture - mateship.'

Up to 5000 people jostled for position around the cenotaph and other vantage points after cheering on the big parade, led by the Northern Rivers Light Horse and featuring six jeeps carrying Diggers.

Coffs Harbour RSL sub-branch president Bob Payne paid tribute to his predecessor, Jeff Porter, who died in January, and to Tobruk veteran Steve Dexter, who died two days short of Anzac Day.

"On this day above all days, we remember the Australian men and women who died and suffered in the great tragedy of war," Mr Payne said.

"The Anzac tradition was forged during the landings at Gallipoli, and each year we pay homage, not only to those original Anzacs, but to all who have died or were injured.

"We share the sorrow of those who mourn, and all who have been the victims of armed conflict."

After the service, Mr Payne was clearly thrilled with the huge gathering, particularly the large numbers of schoolchildren.

"Have a look around you. The kids, that's what it's all about," he said.

"The heritage of Anzac is alive and well in Coffs Harbour today."

The Dawn Service had an impressive 2000 attendees.



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