ANZAC DAY: Henry Maris and Bob Sommerfield at the Charleville Anzac Day service.
ANZAC DAY: Henry Maris and Bob Sommerfield at the Charleville Anzac Day service. Molly Hancock

Standing tall and proud for Anzac Day

AS THE last post rang out and the sun began to rise, Charleville gathered to commemorate Anzac Day.

Over 300 people made their way to the Cenotaph at 5am for the dawn service to remember all past and present servicemen who represented Australia.

This year's Anzac Day reached a significant milestone as it commemorated 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Charleville's Cenotaph had a new look this year with the addition of the Anzac remembrance wall being unveiled at the dawn service.

The Anzac remembrance wall was coordinated by the Charleville Cultural Association and Charleville RSL Sub-branch who secured funding through the Community Benefit Funding for the project.

"We came up with idea to do something to commemorate the centenary of the Anzacs, so we applied to Community Benefit Funding which we were successful for and from there we developed the idea of the wall after talking to the RSL committee,” Charleville Cultural Association member Allison Edwards said.

"Urban Design Systems designed the artwork for the laser cut steel, which spans 100 years of Anzacs and incorporates all the arm services throughout the years.

"Colin Maher was our builder and Brock Wright was the lighting electrician who helped bring the project together.”

Both Mr Maher and Ms Edwards said it was a community project they felt they needed to do for the past and present servicemen in the community.

This year's guest speaker at the dawn service and the 10am service was past local Terry O'Connell.

Mr O'Connell was conscripted into the army in 1969 and served in the Vietnam War in 1970-1971.

"I was a national servicemen and conscripted through the birthday ballot and unfortunately my number came out and I was one of the 16,000 conscripts who went to Vietnam.

"Today was a real honour because I am humbled in receiving the invitation to be the guest speaker and it was good to come back here, plus my mum and dad are here and do a lot of work for the RSL club,” Mr O'Connell said.

Mr O'Connell was only 19 when he was sent to Vietnam and said it was important the younger generations learnt about what happen.

"Myself being a conscript I tried to portray to the younger generations that the government sort of forced us into the army and we were only 19, so we were sent to a place we didn't know and for what reason? It leaves a bitter taste and it is important to let the younger people know what has happened so they are aware of how lucky they are.”

However, despite the battles Mr O'Connell has faced, he said everything has turned out for the best.

"I was fortunate in those days to be engaged and was supposed to be married but we called it off because I was going to Vietnam for 12 months, but luckily I didn't get a dear John letter.

"When I came home we got married two months later and now we have three children and six grandchildren and everything turned out really well,” he said.

To further commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI, the Charleville RSL Sub-branch buried a time capsule which will be opened in 2045, marking 100 years since the Second World War ended.

"It was an addition to the remembrance wall and we thought it would be good to put things in there that people can open in the future to commemorate the centenary of WWI,” Charleville RSL deputy president Greg Field said.

Charleville's Anzac Day also included a street march with past, present and relatives of servicemen and women proudly marching to the Cenotaph.

Among those who were marching were World War Two veterans, Henry Maris and Bob Sommerfield.

The day concluded with a traditional luncheon at the RSL, followed by games of two-up.

See all the photos from today's Anzac Day below.