My brother has taken his two eldest boys (not quite 10 years old) over to Villers-Bretonneux in France for the Anzac Day Dawn Service.
Even as the most unpatriotic of people, I find the Dawn Service one of the most moving of ceremonies. It always makes me cry. Of all conflicts, I find the First World War dreadfully sad, all that innocence and hope slaughtered on the fields of Flanders. The fields enriched by so many bodies and the poppies growing in disturbed earth.
At the unveiling of a monument in Villers-Bretonneux in 1919 the Mayor spoke of the town'sgratitude to the Australian soldiers
"The first inhabitants of Villers-Bretonneux to re-establish themselves in the ruins of what was once a flourishing little town have, by means of donations, shown a desire to thank the valorous Australian Armies, who with the spontaneous enthusiasm and characteristic dash of their race, in a few hours chased an enemy ten times their number...They offer a memorial tablet, a gift which is but the least expression of their gratitude, compared with the brilliant feat which was accomplished by the sons of Australia...Soldiers of Australia, whose brothers lie here in French soil, be assured that your memory will always be kept alive, and that the burial places of your dead will always be respected and cared for..."
Children in Victoria raised money to rebuild the village's school and written above every blackboard is 'N'oublions jamais l'Australie' (never forget Australia). Truly something to be proud of.