Spiritual meaning to dawn service in Mundijong

Spiritual meaning to dawn service in Mundijong

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Around 900 people woke before the sun last Thursday and made the pilgrimage to Mundijong to honour and remember those who served this country in war time.

It was the first ANZAC commemoration the Serpentine Jarrahdale RSL Sub-Branch president Mark Keynes had presided over, and he was thrilled with the turnout.

“The Dawn Service has a spiritual meaning to it, it’s symbolic of the first landing at Gallipoli. There was a good sense of occasion last Thursday,” he said.

Since early times, the half-light of dawn was one of the most favoured times to attack an adversary. In the trenches of Gallipoli and the Western Front, and on the front lines in the Middle East, a company’s orderly officer and sergeant woke those soldiers on active duty an hour or so before dawn.

In the dark, the troops would fix their bayonets to guard the position against enemy attack.

In the dark, members from all corners of the shire paid tribute to the fallen.

“A very impressive young man from Byford Secondary College – Joshua Smith – recited ‘In Flanders Fields’,” Mr Keynes said.

“I remarked: ‘if any of you are worried about the future, don’t be. If this young man is indicative of his generation, then we’re in good hands’.”

Mr Keynes said even the train drivers respected the mood of the hour, creeping through quietly for a change.

The gunfire breakfast fed around 300 community members immediately after the service.

And around 100 marched in the procession.

It was a smaller turnout for the commemorative service later in the morning, but no less meaningful, with moving musical tributes from the Heritage Country Choir and the Armadale City Concert Band, and ANZAC day reflections delivered by Merri Harris.