PORT Macquarie-RSL sub-Branch president Greg Laird was given a standing ovation at the conclusion of this year's Anzac Day main service in Port Macquarie.
This year was his last leading the service saying it was "his time" to step aside and make way for someone else to take the helm.
The march down Horton Street and commemorative service was attended by thousands of residents after strict limitations were placed on last year's event due to COVID health restrictions.
For Mr Laird, a community coming together is what Anzac Day is about - camaraderie and respect. He has been at the head of the march and service for the last 19 years.
While school and community groups were not permitted to march at this year's Anzac Day service, it did not stop supporters from lining the streets to pay their respects to our community's ex-servicemen and women, including the remaining 22 World War Two veterans who make up the 350-strong Port Macquarie RSL sub-Branch.
Mr Laird walked alongside 97-year-old veteran Roy Boyle.
The commemorative address was delivered by Hastings Secondary College student Jorgabella Munday who said the memories of war and those who made the ultimate sacrifice continue to be an important chapter in our region's history and must be remembered.
"We as a community can help carry the legacy of those who fought," she said.
Jorjabella spoke of the Somme offensive and of the 11,000 Australian men who died and have been buried in unmarked graves.
Somme was one of the largest battles of World War One and considered one of the bloodiest.
"This why we need to remember their legacy. These graves go unmarked and the names of these men are lost - but not what they fought for."
Jorgabella suggested local street names across Port Macquarie-Hastings could honour the lives of the local men and women who lost their lives as a way to remember their sacrifice.
Dozens of wreaths were placed at the cenotaph before Keanu Bowman delivered a moving rendition of the New Zealand and Australian national anthems.
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