This morning's breaking dawn over Castle Hill's Centenary of ANZAC Reserve, illuminated a crowd of more than 15,000 locals.
The Castle Hill RSL sub-branch is one of the biggest in NSW with more than 540 members ranging in age from 19 to 102-years-old.
Like hundreds of thousands more around Australia, they'd gathered to honour our serving forces, past and present.
In 2015, amid growing youth interest in the community, the sub-branch decided to create the Anzac Day Youth Ambassador Program.
It was intended to run until official centenary commemorations ended last year, but its success and the response from the students involved, led to it being extended.
Speaking at this morning's service were 2019 ambassadors, Ethan Wynne of Pacific Hills Christian School, Elizabeth Rodd of William Clarke College, Rebecca Hinton of Marian Catholic College and Jake Christian of Crestwood High School.
Each year, the ambassador program offers four exemplary students who display a passion for Australian history, the opportunity to speak at Anzac memorial services. They're also trained in public speaking by 2CH’s Gareth McCray OAM.
The selection process involves students being interviewed by a panel from the Castle Hill Community, including Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne.
Elizabeth Rodd has no doubt about the program's value and purpose.
“It’s really important and something that we need to remember," she said.
It's only through youth involvement and education that we can continue on their traditions.
The Anzac address was given by Lieutenant Commander Paul Garai of the Royal Australian Navy, who recounted the distaste towards the defence forces during the 1960s.
He recalled how Veterans came home in secret.
"We were not to talk about our deployment and families were to stop discussing those who were serving overseas for fear of criticism," he said.
“For those who serve, there isn’t much that can compensate for the sacrifices that are made; the loss of time with family; the loss of basic freedoms, such as going to the shops whenever you like and perhaps also the physical and emotional wounds that may come,” LtCdr Garai said.
"The sincere gratitude of the community is always appreciated - so please, not only today, but when you get the chance, remember to say thanks to a Veteran. Lest we forget." - Daniella Scotti @Daniella_Scotti