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ANZAC Day Observed

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Published on Apr 26, 2008

CHAN:
Crowds gathered at war memorials across Australia to remember the country's war dead as dawn broke this morning. More and more young people have been attending the services in recent years.

STORY:
Chilly weather across the country didn't deter thousands of Australians from attending annual commemoration services. Veterans and current military personal filed through all of the major Australian cities.

Sydneysiders young and old braved the pouring rain as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd laid a wreath at the city's cenotaph. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets in Sydney to catch a glimpse of the parade. A fleet of taxis carrying those too frail to walk began the parade, followed by military bands and soldiers following their former company flags.

Crowds held candles at the dawn service, at the Australian war memorial in Canberra. An estimated 15,000 people flocked to Anzac Square in the center of Brisbane.

Melbourne residents crowded around the city's Shrine of Remembrance as the sound of bagpipes filled the air. Melbourne's streets were crowded, with young and old people waving to veterans and serving officers as they marched or were driven past.

In Perth, a crowd of 30,000 filled King's Park as the sun rose over the city.

Attendance numbers at dawn services have been steadily rising in recent years, with a growing number of young people boosting the number of war veterans taking part in the event.

ANZAC Day is an important national occasion for many Australians. The public holiday marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by troops, from the then 14-year-old federal Commonwealth of Australia during the first World War. Today, ANZAC Day commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders killed during military service.

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