In the cold, dark hours of Monday morning, hundreds of people gathered at the intersection of Brockman and Giblett streets in Manjimup to take part in the Anzac Day dawn service. Standing at the podium was Manjimup’s Returned and Services League president Wayne Hughes who began the ceremony with a short speech detailing the history of the first morning of the Gallipoli campaign. He spoke of how thousands of Australian and New Zealand soldiers stormed the beaches of the Gallipoli peninsula as a part of the campaign to eliminate Turkey from the First World War. Mr Hughes said the first day was a “disaster” which left thousands of Anzac troops dead and wounded and it was a day filled with “fear and chaos.” The RSL president said although the day was a tragedy for the soldiers, it was a moment which would go on to define the spirit of Anzac and leave a lasting impression on the Australian national identity. He said the Anzac spirit no longer only applied to those who fought in the First World War but also WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the modern conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Following Mr Hughes was the Anzac prayer which was then followed by Manjimup RSL secretary Ted Middleton’s speech commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Kokoda Track campaign in the Second World War. Mr Middleton’s retelling told of the attempted capturing of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea by the Japanese resulting in thousands of Australian soldiers’ deaths. “Emaciated, suffering from dysentery and cholera with clothes hanging from their bodies like scarecrows,” he said. Mr Middleton said the troops who were fought in that campaign were referred to as “chocolate soldiers” who would “melt away” in the heat of battle, but after being relieved by Australian soldiers, had earned the respect given to them. “What else can we say except lest we forget,” he said. Later in the day at the 11am service the parade began outside the Manjimup RSL Hall and comprised RSL members, the local scouts, school representatives, players from the Deanmill, Imperials and Tigers football clubs and members of the State Emergency Service. Manjimup resident Wayne Herdigan played the iconic song, This is my Rifle, on guitar. The song was written by former serviceman Mark Maysey about the Vietman War and the PTSD which often strickens veterans. Manjimup Shire president Paul Omodei spoke about the importance Anzac Day had in the Australian calendar and how the day was a bonding experience for all servicemen and women. Mr Hughes closed the 11am service by remarking how proud he was of the town and the people in it. “Tell you what, I am just so proud of Manjimup, thank you,” he said. Elsewhere in the Lower South West hundreds of people gathered at the Greenbushes War Memorial for the dawn service which started with a parade leaving the RSL Hall. The parade was spearheaded by members of the Light Horse troop who were then followed by RSL members and residents. At the cenotaph wreaths were laid and prayers said to honour those who gave their lives for Australia in conflicts past. The dawn service was followed by a gunfire breakfast which allowed family and friends to sit with ex-servicemen and hear and share stories. There was no dawn service in Bridgetown this year, however there was a parade led down South Western Highway which included dozens of marchers from all different kinds of community groups. Bridgetown RSL president Terry Linz gave a speech at the service about the importance of commemorating those who had fought for Australia. He said he hoped the 2023 service would be as good as this year’s event.