We started the day by watching the Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial and the address by Brendan Nelson Director of the AWM. Nelson was as good as I have seen at delivering a heartfelt message of remembrance for all Australians who have served their country in theatres of war and elsewhere. He made me feel proud about my heritage, my father’s service in the Middle East 1940 -1942 and my son’s service currently.
Following breakfast, we put on our walking shoes and stepped it out to the City via the Goodwill Bridge QUT and the Botanic Gardens. A most enjoyable stroll in early morning sunshine with the promise of a pleasant warm day. We made our way up Albert St., then into Charlotte St., and finally onto George St. (the wind tunnel of Brisbane) where the various units were assembling. The marchers were in George St. headed north, the bands in Elizabeth St. headed east and the vehicles containing digger too old or disabled to march in Elizabeth St headed west. They would combine at the intersection of George and Elizabeth to form the parade.
We proceeded onto the stairs of the Toshiba Building at the corner of George St., and Adelaide St. took up a comfortable position – Kerry sitting on a wall and me standing camera in hand. People were milling awaiting the whistle for the parade to commence. Organisers in red polo shirts buzzed everywhere clip boards at the ready and the wind started to build whipping up George St like a gale in Bass Strait.
The it started run on 9.30 am with a group re-enacting the appearance of Queensland soldiers from the Boer war for we were not a nation then.
There was a squad of old taxis carrying the old and disabled diggers followed by the Air Force who presented in their sky blue shirts followed by the Navy and then the Army – 150 units in all. Various volunteers, police men and officials spent a lot of time rounding up hats blown off the marchers. The parade continued well past 11.30 am when we decided it was time to walk home as rain was now threatening as well. Nevertheless, a grand parade to remember all the servicemen and women throughout our short history as a nation.