Any doubts about Port Macquarie’s new-look Town Square were erased when some 800 to 900 people attended the 2017 Remembrance Day service on Saturday.
Organised by Port Macquarie RSL Sub-branch, the service remembered and honoured those service men and women who fought for, or served, their country.
Sub-branch president Greg Laird was ecstatic with the response from the community.
“It is definitely growing. It really is,” he said.
“The quality of our young guest speaker and the quality of the people here is just amazing.
“This is one of the bigger crowds I’ve seen at a Remembrance Day service. I’d estimate the crowd at between 800 to 900 people.
“Pleasingly, it is wonderful to see such a strong contingent of youth too. Don’t forget this is their day off, their leisure time, and still they turned out and supported this day.”
Mr Laird said he and fellow sub-branch members would reflect on the day over ‘a cup of tea and a biscuit’.
“We may even have a beverage,” he added.
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker was doubly pleased with the day’s events.
“This is my 16th year in parliament and this event in 2001 was my first gig as the local federal member,” he said.
“It was a great honour back then to lay a wreath and it is the same for me today.
“It is vitally important that we continue to honour and remember all those who have served their country in conflicts and in peacekeeping efforts.”
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council mayor Peta Pinson was also quick to point to the support shown by local schools on the day.
“It is tremendous to see our schools responding and supporting this event,” she said.
“The cenotaph is now rightfully positioned where it is and truly represents the selfless acts of our service men and women, so that the remainder of the community can show their respect and support.”
Mrs Pinson also praised the ‘very moving’ speech by Tanisha Palmer.
“She really captured the feeling of families when they send their loved ones off to war,” she said.
The mayor also described the day as perfect.
Another community member involved in the day is Town Band bugler Amy Corrigan.
“There is a strong sense of pride that I get from representing my community on behalf of those who have fallen,” she said.
“At first, the emotions of the day can get to you but now I have learned how to switch off and remain professional for the duration of the event. I am looking forward to more events down on the Town Square.”