As the bugler, a student from a Performing Arts High School, played the last post, more than 2500 primary and secondary students from a Millennial generation stood with their heads bowed.
These students, who had come together from across NSW Catholic, public and independent schools, vowed that the tradition of Anzac Day would not die with the last of the Anzacs.
Seventeen year-old Phoebe McDermott, co-captain of Marist Sisters Catholic College at Woolwich, talked about the power of the Anzac spirit, the sentiment made in the keynote address at Sydney’s Hyde Park war memorial for the 2017 RSL and Schools Remember Anzac Commemoration Service.
“Today is about honouring the soldiers who not only protected our nation but provided freedom for future Australians like me,” she said.
“This legacy stands not to glorify war but to commemorate the courage, sacrifice and heroism in the conservation of freedom and liberty.”
These Millennial students stood valiant alongside young army cadets, to honour the Australians they will never meet, and to hear about the Anzac spirit and the events at Gallipoli that have become a defining hallmark in our nation.
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Year 6 students, Anthony Chidiac and Annabelle Le, were impressed by the military displays and the solemnity of the event, said that they had travelled from Belmore, to “pay respects” as a way “to give thanks.”
Two other pupils from the school, Isabella Fotiadis and Rhys Bessenyei, climbed the stairs of the memorial to present a wreath to remember the fallen men and women.
They were among a sea of students covering the stairs with floral tributes.
The commemoration concluded with the Reveille ringing out across the park and with an address from NSW Branch RSL State President John Haines.
Up to 150 students from Sydney’s Catholic systemic schools participated in in this year’s RSL and Schools Remember Anzac Commemoration on 5 April:
• St Brendan’s Catholic Primary Bankstown
• Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary Kensington
• St Thomas More’s Catholic School Brighton Le Sands
• St Fiacre’s Primary Leichhardt
• Bethlehem College Ashfield
• Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Kensington
• Mount St Joseph Milperra
• St Mary’s Cathedral College Sydney
• Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich
• Holy Innocents’ Catholic Primary Croydon
• Bethany College Hurstville
• All Saints Catholic College Liverpool
• St Andrew’s Catholic Primary Malabar
• St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Belmore
• St Brigid’s Catholic Primary Marrickville
• Southern Cross Vocational College Burwood