THEY gathered on the beach, waves crashing the silence, surfboats in salute, as Mooloolaba remembered those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
More than 2500 young and old were among those assembled in the dawn darkness to mark the Gallipoli landing and pay their respects to those who fought for Australia and New Zealand in conflicts around the globe.
With six surfboats off the shore and the ocean consuming the sand, you could easily close your eyes and imagine that landing: the young Australians coming to the shore with nothing but courage and mateship to keep them alive.
Ex Royal Australian Regiment serviceman and former Howard government minister Mal Brough painted a poignant picture as he spoke.
"They left behind their dead and their memories but they took with them what was to become the spirit of Anzacs - the spirit of endurance, of sacrifice, of commitment and above all what we pride so much as Australians - mateship.''
"Throughout the years, throughout the conflicts, whether it be in Borneo, Malaysia, World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam, Iraq 1 or 2 or Afghanistan or wherever we have served as defence men and women, in the Merchant Navy and Nursing Corp, the Australian Defence Force has always aimed to live up to the spirits of the very first Anzacs,'' Mr Brough said.
"The first man ashore could have been amongst us here today - he was a young Queenslander.'
"They had no past fighting knowledge to draw upon. They just had the spirit of their nation, the love of freedom and the want to look after their mates."
"Over those years, more than 102,000 Australian men and women have lost their lives due to war.
"Today we gather to pay our respects, to remember them, to quietly, silently listen to the ocean as it ripples in and think to ourselves what it must have been like for those men on that foreign shore so long ago as they embarked on the great adventure.''
"Our duty today, our duty tomorrow, is to ensure we continue to respect their memory.
"That we honour their deeds, and that we continue to come on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day.
"And in our lives we continue to remember them and their families for what they have done for us and the freedoms that we enjoy.
"Lest we forget.''
As songs of different war conflicts eras played out, wreaths were laid by ex-servicemen and Mooloolaba lifesavers before the ode and the last post.
As a minute of silence was observed, the Mooloolaba boat crews situated just behind the surf break laid wreaths on the water in honour of those who fought, before tossing their oars into the air as a mark of respect.
Mooloolaba remembered them well.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow
They were staunch to the end against the odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
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