MEMORIES: Jean Campbell and Jean Terry , of Launceston, lay a wreath on behalf of war widows.Launceston RSL president John Wright told the more than 2000 people crowded around the Paterson St cenotaph this year’s theme was honouring prisoners of war.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Wright said this year was special because it marked the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings and the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

He said Australia was threatened by the Japanese but soldiers fighting with the Anzac spirit turned back the threat and the war ended on August 15, 1945.

Following the 14-minute service, Mr Wright invited those of legal age to have a tot of rum, donated by Launceston hotels.

Mr Wheldon said the tradition was born on the first Anzac Day, when the soldiers were given a nip of rum aboard ships off the Turkish coast before they stormed the beaches.

He said yesterday’s service must have been popular, because all 22 bottles were drunk.

“Usually we have some to take back to the RSL, but not this year,” Mr Wright said.

“There are so many people here, the biggest ever.

“It’s always a good thing to have that tot after the service because you are all keyed up and it gives you a chance to relax.”

RSL chaplain Peter Pinder led the crowd in prayer.

“In this quiet moment of dawn of a new day, we draw aside to honour those who in many ways, and in deeds of recognised bravery, or in quiet courage, have given them- selves in their country’s cause,” he said.

“We would hallow the memory of men and women who gave their tomorrow that we might have today.

“May we never forget the price they paid, nor the debt we owe them.

“Keep before us in peace the ideals of courage, mateship and sacrifice they displayed in war.”

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