Thousands gathered at the Kings Park State War Memorial in Perth for the Anzac Day dawn service.Cath Burton has been coming to the Anzac Day dawn service at Perth’s Kings Park with her husband for about 40 years.
This year, they were joined by their son and grandchildren.
Both of Ms Burton’s uncles, aged 21 and 25, were killed in World War II – one by a sniper in New Guinea while the other was shot down over the English channel.
“Imagine being in those trenches, up to your knees in mud,” Ms Burton told AAP on Wednesday.
“So we don’t complain about getting up early.”
Joe and Jamie McBain brought two-year-old Gordon to his first Anzac Day dawn service, dressed in a little warm suit with a poppy.
“We want him to uphold the honour, dignity and respect of those that lost their lives and we want him to know about it,” his mother said.
Crowd numbers were down slightly this year at the Kings Park State War Memorial service, with about 30,000 people in attendance.
Brigadier Peter Moore told the crowd that Anzac Day was about remembering and honouring those who have served their country.
“We are not here to glorify war,” he said.
“We are here to reflect on the almost incomprehensible sacrifice of so many young lives in so many conflicts that Australia has been involved in and recognise the service of all.”
“Little did the soldiers who landed on April 25, 1915 imagine what they were embarking on would become the thing of legend.”
Brigadier Moore also acknowledged those who continue to serve.
“Freedom only survives as long as there are people who are willing to defend it,” he said.
“This is the Anzac spirit handed down to us and is ours to pass on to future generations.”
Among the dignitaries at the dawn service who laid a wreath was West Australian Deputy Premier Roger Cook and WA Governor Kerry Sanderson.
Mr Cook said he was pleased to see so many young people at the ceremony.
“I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to think about individual sacrifice of the young men and women, but it’s also an opportunity for us to talk about our humanity and our expressions of freedom and the values that come with it,” he told reporters.
After the dawn service, there was an Aboriginal corroboree and Maori haka performance.
It was the first time such a tribute was held involving both cultures.
Australian Associated Press