WIMMERA residents will commemorate 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War in services and marches across the region on Friday.
Horsham RSL senior vice-president and commemorative chairman David Eltringham said Anzac Day was a chance to consider the implications of the First World War.
“It’s even more important at the moment because the nation still has servicemen and women overseas,’’ he said.
“Anzac Day is a day where we can commemorate not only past service people but also give thanks for current servicemen and women.
“The RSL in Horsham hopes that service people who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and East Timor will come forward and lead the march because we do wish to acknowledge them and the sacrifices they have made.”
Mr Eltringham said the First World War was a nation-building event for Australia.
He said the dawn service had grown in popularity over the years.
“Last year for the first time the dawn service attracted more people than the traditional commemorative service and estimates were that upwards of 1500 people were at the dawn service and 1200 at the commemorative service,” Mr Eltringham said.
“We would expect this year being the anniversary of the start of the First World War that those numbers would increase.”
He said Horsham services would have a naval theme in honour of guest speaker Commodore Elizabeth Rushbrook.
Aside from the anniversary of the First World War, this year also marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Banjo Paterson.
Mr Eltringham said Don Mitchell would read some of Paterson’s poetry at the service.
Rosemary Remembrance Committee secretary Lynne Wright said 65,000 rosemary and poppy sprigs had been assembled for Anzac Day.
“We are massively grateful for all the volunteers who came in and made it possible and the people who donated rosemary,” she said.
Ms Wright said the committee fell 1000 sprigs short of their target because of the scarcity of rosemary.