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By Madeleine Gray on April 4, 2017 in News

Photo: Ernest Brooks

Photo: Ernest Brooks

While war is not something to be celebrated, it is something that continues to take place across every country and time. This being the case, there must be soldiers to fight wars. These soldiers are people, and they are brave.

On Anzac Day, we do not honour and glorify the bloodshed of WWI itself, but the brave folk who transcended ego at Gallipoli to fight for their country, and for a cause that they believed greater than their own. We honour all the men and women who have followed in their footsteps, serving and dying in the hope that it might achieve a better world.

The Dawn Service is a tradition that pays tribute to the quiet, peaceful moments before dawn in battle – the silence that unites soldiers in reverie and mateship before the fighting begins and the death toll rises.

While the first official Dawn Service was held at the Cenotaph in Martin Place – and a Dawn Service continues to be held there annually – Dawn Services have now emerged in country towns and suburban parks all around the country. The Eastern Suburbs plays host to a number of these events.

North Bondi Surf Club hosts the largest Dawn Service in the local area, last year gathering over 10,000 serving and ex-soldiers, community members, and regional dignitaries. This year the service, which takes place at North Bondi War Memorial overlooking the sea, will begin at 6am in darkness, with the sun set to rise at 6:25am.

People in attendance will hear speeches by those who have fought and those who have lost, and meditate on the extreme fortune we have received due to the sacrifices of those who have come, and fought, before us. Afterwards, some two-up at the RSL is a must. It’s what the soldiers would have wanted.

Randwick Council will again be hosting the Coogee Beach Dawn Service at Goldstein Reserve.

“We are proud to gather in pre-dawn darkness to honour the service and sacrifice of our original ANZACs, and the generations of Australian servicemen and women who have defended our values and freedoms,” a Council spokesperson said.

The service starts at 5am, and Coogee Pavilion will be open from 5:30am, serving breakfast and coffee, as will a handful of cafes on Coogee Bay Road.

Waverley Council will be holding a later service at the Waverley Cenotaph at Waverley Park for those who can’t quite stomach the 6am start.

This event will commence at 7:45am, and Council asks that attendees arrive by 7:30am. While it is a smaller affair than the North Bondi and Coogee services, usually attracting up to 200 people, this service has its own quiet dignity, with the bugle playing the last post up into the misty air above the park.

Not to be left out, Maroubra RSL sub-branch will also be hosting a Dawn Service. Attendees will meet at the Cenotaph opposite Juniors at the Junction on Anzac Parade, with the ceremony set to begin at 4:30am.