VETERANS, emergency services personel, school children and families lined Bowra St and flowed down into the RSL carpark at Nambucca Heads this morning to pay their respects to those who have served our nation.
After being welcomed by RSL sub-branch president Mick Birtles DSC, a crowd of several hundred heard the ANZAC Day address by Colonel Michael Collie - who together with his wife Lisa - now call Nambucca Heads home.
Col Collie had a distinguished and regarded military career, which included 37 years in the regular Army, before transferring to the Reserves. This included deployments in Iran and East Timor, and six years in South Asia.
From 2001 to 2009, he was posted to the United States, where his high level work there led to the award of a Legion of Merit.
Col Collie reflected that at the start of World War I, England mostly considered Australian forces as ill disciplined and uncultured.
"They had little expectation of (Australia providing) anything other than a diversion for the enemy," he said.
But qualities of tenacity and guile presented instead - a "spirit we should be proud to call our own", and a preparedness for "selfless service to our country in times of need".
Yet the cost of valour was barely measurable.
"Some never saw a birthday cake with more than 18 candles," Col Collie said.
But the return from the sacrifice was that "communities are able to flourish in peace and prosperity".
Local MP Melinda Pavey observed that the terrorist attacks in Christchurch and Sri Lanka showed that "the battles to come are not like the battles of the past".
"The secret to peace throughout the planet is education," the Member for Oxley said.