In 2017 the Veterans MC Federal Chapter made the trip to Young, the Cherry capital of Australia, to participate in the ANZAC Day parade. The weather turned for the worse and organisers cancelled the parade instead holding the main service in the Town Hall. A decision was made by the VMC that we would return in 2018 to complete our promise to ride our bikes in their parade.
Fast forward to April 24 2018 and you could not have asked for better weather as we met up at the Hall truckstop for our departure.
It is a short ride to Young from Canberra along the Hume then Burley Griffin Way, we made good time and checked into the Young Federation Inn and straight across to the Young Services Club for a cleansing Ale.
A quiet night for most and up early as Bones made the rounds early in the morning with rum for everyone prior to heading off to Dawn Service.
It was a moving Dawn Service, in unusually warm temperatures, with an inspiring speech by Lt Commander Noel Kirk of the RAN.
We retired back to our rooms for a few hours and getting ready to ride in the main parade at 1100.
We turned up to take our position at the rear of the parade and organisers had decided we should lead the parade, we were honoured to be offered the opportunity.
The parade made its way through Young and wound up at Anderson Park, named after local legend Lt Col. Anderson VC, MC. Look up his story, it is an amazing tale of dedication and courage.
There was a large crowd in attendance, I am no good at guessing numbers but it would have been in the high hundreds with many school children in attendance and showing great respect for the occasion, a real credit to their town.
Following the parade, wreath laying (VMC President Bones on our behalf) and speeches with the commemoration speech by Captain Andrew Masters of the RAN we headed back to the Young Services Club for a lunch with other Veterans and a few beverages. Some of us may have even headed out on a pub crawl catching up with other groups of Veterans on a similar journey at every pub in town and Kiwis now traditional port toast (or several) at every stop…”To the Fallen”.
ANZAC Day in a small town is a great way to commemorate and remember, every town in Australia has a memorial to our fallen, and sometimes the numbers are hard to understand from such small populations. One thing I did learn this year is that every year the Chief of Navy sends his officers far and wide to attend and speak at a service, I think Army and Air Force could learn something there.