Country crowds flocked to dawn services and marches to mark Anzac Day, braving wet weather to honour those who have fought for our country and to commemorate the 108th anniversary of Anzac troops landing in Gallipoli in World War One. It was a sombre and beautiful occasion across regional WA, where hundreds of services were held from Kununurra in the north to Esperance and Albany at a range of times and in a range of locations. In the Wheatbelt, about 350 members of the Narrogin community braved the cold to come together at 5.50am to commemorate Anzac Day at the town’s dawn service, while at the nearby Williams service about 100 people gathered at 8am. Servicemen along with representatives from the Shire of Narrogin, Narrogin police and emergency services gathered around the cenotaph and paid their respects at the short service which concluded with the rising of the sun. At 9.30am, Shire of Narrogin president Leigh Ballard welcomed the community to the park and noted that this Anzac Day marked the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. At nearby Williams, Shire president Jarrad Logie led the ceremony and welcomed the community before Vern Sattler from the Anglican church and Janette Liddelow from the Catholic church came forward to deliver a prayer. The day before Anzac Day, the Pingelly community came together to light the small town’s eternal flame in Memorial Park, with the vigil held across 12 hours in three, four-hour shifts before concluding at the dawn service. Pingelly emergency service personnel stood guard over the flame throughout the night, with Sheina Diamond and daughter Shannon Diamond taking the first watch. Long-serving local volunteer firefighter Peter Narducci said the tradition began in 2007 when he was approached by past Pingelly RSL secretary Peter Charles. “I decided to make one, and the fire service donated it to the Pingelly RSL and said we would stand guard over the flame,” he said. In WA’s Mid West, there was a strong turnout at Geraldton’s Birdwood House, where about 5500 to pay their respects to Australian soldiers who have defended, and continue to defend our country. In WA’s far north, crowds gathered at Broome’s Dawn Service where the town’s RSL Sub-Branch members lead the traditional march at 5am through Weld Street with front-line service members, veterans and families leading close behind. Kununurra residents gathered at sunrise at a special location called Anzac Hill to pay their respects. South West residents also paid there respects, with many stepping out in rainy weather. Following a dawn service and gunfire breakfast at the Manjimup RSL Hall, current and ex-service personnel, as well as local community members took to the main street for the ANZAC parade and morning service at the town’s Coronation Park. In Albany - the ‘home of the Anzac’ - visitors from far and wide ascended Mt Clarence for the traditional dawn service overlooking the King George Sound, the city’s first unrestricted Anzac Day since 2019. Later in the morning, large crowds lined York Street to show their appreciation for parading veterans as well as service men and women for the Anzac Day March. Despite a drizzly morning, the Esperance RSL sub-branch saw a record high attendance of community members at this year’s dawn service – not unlike many other services in the region. Events and publicity coordinator Jill Reynolds said the crowd of more than 1000 people was the largest amount of people the sub-branch had ever seen at the service. Attendance at dawn services was seemingly higher than previous services across the region this year. “I think it is because the younger generations have lived such a peaceful and free life in comparison to generations before and they are really recognising that,” Ms Reynolds said. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and 70 years since the Korean War ended.