While the day is still dark, countless dawn services across Australia and New Zealand are held.
As two nations, we take this day to commemorate the events that occurred at daybreak on the beach in Gallipoli, Turkey on the 25th April, 1915. We remember the service men and women who unfortunately didn't return, not just from the First World War, but from any war. We acknowledge what our present service men and women do, so that we as Australians and New Zealanders can live in the wonderful and free countries that we have.
An ex-serviceman spoke at the dawn service I attended this morning. As it so often does on Anzac Day, almost as if in the spirit of the day, it was raining. This man's speech was so compelling about what Anzac Day meant to him, having served our country for 34 years, I didn't even notice the rain had stopped!
The one thing that struck me that this ex-serviceman said was that they do not fight because they hate what is in front of them.
They fight to protect what is behind them - their families, friends, loved ones and their country.
As a proud Australian, I am continually touched at the attendance at the dawn services, Anzac Day marches and other commemorative activities held throughout the day. I admire and respect the variety in the age groups that attend. Just this morning I saw older veterans and citizens, younger adults and families with young children. I watched in awe at all of these people who feel the importance of this day in our nation's year, that have grown up learning and knowing what this day means and those that are passing this lesson on to the next generation.
To those who annually dispute the need for a public holiday on this day, I say loudly "shame on you!" But for the courage, sacrifice, teamwork, humility and integrity of our diggers, you would not have the freedom to express yourself.
To those who have served, who were killed, or who are presently serving in our nations defence forces, I say an even louder and truly heart-felt "Thank You".
LEST WE FORGET