THE Sunshine Coast has come together this morning to honour the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Anzac Day services have begun around the Coast, with young and old turning out in droves to locations including Coolum, Cotton Tree, Tewantin, Alexandra Headland, Cooroy, Nambour and Palmwoods.
A PATCH of grass was hard to come by at the Kings Beach Amphitheatre this morning during the Caloundra Anzac Day services.
The Dawn Service turned out record crowds, while the main service saw more than 5000 turn out to pay tribute to the fallen men and women who served in war since the First World War.
The annual street march started processions at Kings Beach, towards a mounting crowd at the amphitheatre.
The catafalque party consisting of members of No. 6 squadron RAAF Amberley assembled at the memorial before the crowd joined in the hymn sang by Sara Sullivan.
Pastor Arthur Fry addressed the crowd, speaking of the freedoms of the Australian people
THE sound of drums echoing through the streets signalled the start of Nambour's vibrant Anzac Day parade.
Thousands of people lined Howard and Ann Streets to catch a glimpse of the proceedings which were led by the Australian Light Horse contingent.
The parade flowed seamlessly along its new route to Quota Memorial Park for the 9am main service where war veterans with medals adorning their chests sat proudly side-by-side.
Ex-navy officer and guest speaker Frank Ross gave an insightful speech about the role of the Royal Australian Navy during the First World War's Gallipoli campaign.
His words touched the hearts of not only veterans and serving military personnel but also the hundreds of young school children who sat solemnly before him.
Suncoast Christian College captains Issac Waterhouse and Riette de Jager told the story of Robert Roberts who grew up in Nambour before enlisting in the army in 1915.
Just one year into his service 23-year-old Private Roberts was killed. His name is now one of many listed on the Nambour Wall of Remembrance.
"I am reminded that Robert was a son and brother, not too different to me…with all of the same dreams and desires that I have as a young man…his sacrifice must not be forgotten," Issac said.
AGAIN, the crowds at Tewantin Noosa Anzac matched and exceeded the previous year.
The Dawn service, considered to have attracted the largest crowd in its history was followed up with the morning service attended by local school students, service people, their families, friends and community.
Flocks of white cockatoos flew through the sky as the large crowd listened to the moving ceremony and watched the men and women who served our country commemorated for their dedication and brave spirit.
Afterwards the Diggers bar filled with uniform clad people and those who, for this one special day brought out and wore ribboned medals.
At one table, three generations of single family met up for their annual get together in honour of those who had fallen.
Second World War veteran ninety-two-year-old Arch Ferguson had flown up from Warrnambool, Victoria to share the day with his son-in-law Paul Rayner and Grandson Lance Corporal Tim Rayner of Tewantin.
Mr Ferguson was a gunner on the legendary Catalina flying boats. The Catalinas played an important role in the war, most notably in the sinking of the Bismarck in 1941. He also did service in New Guinea. Mr Ferguson's son-in-law Paul Rayner was in the Infantry when he went to East Timor in a peacekeeping role in 2006-7. While the youngest serving member of the family, 26-year-old LC Tim Rayner also performed peacekeeping duties in the Solomon Islands in 2007.
Air force service man Shane Christall of Noosaville who serves as a loadmaster in the 36th Squadron was one of the many people held in awe by an unexpected overhead flight by The Royal Australian Air force fighter bomber F18 Hornet.
It was predicted to fly past at 9.43am and with military precision it did exactly that.
THOUSANDS of residents turned out to pay tribute to service men and women at this year's dawn and early morning Anzac services in Buderim.
The dawn service saw more than 700 members of the community turn out with this year's tribute centred on praising the soldiers and their horses at the Buderim War Memorial Hall.
The 9am service saw more than 1500 residents turn out to watch the parade down Burnett and Main St toward the Pine Forest adjacent to the Buderim Mountain State School.
A touching poem, Not a hero, by Clyde Hamilto,n was recited by Chancellor State College student Jerrod Byrne as the wreaths were laid at the Catafalque.
Guest speaker Lt Colonel retired Ian Mansfield in his address said, "today is not just a day of remembrance it is a day to honour the spirit of the Anzac which is in all of us."
MAROOCHYDORE RSL sub-branch president Malcolm Colclough told a crowd of at least two thousand people how the Gallipoli campaign 97 years ago strengthened the resolve of the country.
"The world began looking at Australia as an independent nationality of a very independent country," he said at the pre-dawn service at the Cotton Tree cenotaph.
"This world view of us continues to this day.
"We all need that spirit of the Anzac... we must not let it die."
Padre Ern Sabel offered a prayer.
"Today is a day for remembering and honouring those men and women who gave themselves for our country," he said.
"But it's also a day to ask 'isn't there a better way for our world?'
"It's a day also to ask why is it that as human beings we kill each other, that we leave such a trail of weeping wives, husbands and children, grieving families and other terrible things that are part of the world.
"I guess that's why it's traditional at this service to pray… I'm happy to lead us in a pray because I believe it will make a difference.
COLD air blew, people stood still and wreaths and crosses were laid at the base of the Kawana RSL war memorial at Cooper's Lookout, Buddina.
About 1500 people attended the dawn service which was opened by Kawana RSL sub-branch president Kevin Hurman.
"Today is more than a commemoration of a battle," Mr Hurman said.
"It is the celebration of two nations and an enduring relationship between them.
"While it commemorates the feats of their soldiers, this day belongs to the Australian and New Zealand people - not merely our armies."
Salvation Army Major Fred Shaw led a prayer, which was followed by a wreath-laying ceremony conducted by sub-branch vice-president Rob Hunt.
The Act of Remembrance and the Ode were then read aloud, before The Last Post sounded through the crowd.
After the service attendees enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Kawana Waters Surf Life Saving Club.
THOUSANDS of residents stood in honour of the Anzacs as the sun rose on Mooloolaba beach today.
The Mooloolaba Surf Club's Dawn Service made a special tribute to the thousands of horses who carried soldiers, supplies and artillery in challenging circumstances.
A number of Nippers honoured fallen servicemen and women by laying wreaths for each war campaign from the Boer War to the current war conflicts today.
Lifesavers in surf boats laid wreaths as the Last Post echoed across the beach to end the service.
HUNDREDS of residents attended dawn services in Maleny, Montville and Beerwah this morning and many more joined services held later in the morning.
Community groups, school representatives, defence force personnel and emergency services crew from around the region took part in wreath ceremonies, laying wreaths of red Flanders poppies at memorial posts across the Range.
In Maleny, hundreds attended a dawn service commemorating Anzac Day at the Maleny RSL Cenotaph.
Later in the morning, more than a thousand people showed their respects during the Anzac Day parade through Maleny's town centre.
The crowd proudly clapped and watched as the march, led by the Maleny 5th Light Horse Troop, made its way down Maple St towards the Maleny RSL cenotaph.
In Montville, more than 250 residents, and even a group of travellers from all parts of the country, attended the 5.30am service conducted by the RSL Mapleton Sub-Branch, on behalf of the Montville Village Association, at the Memorial Gates at the Montville Hall.
The Beerwah-Peachester Sub-Branch dawn service followed by a gunfire breakfast attracted crowds in the hundreds, all there to pay their respects.
In Mapleton, a service and march took place conducted by the RSL Mapleton Sub Branch, supported by the Salvation Army Band, TS Centaur Cadets and students from the Mapleton State School.
Following that was the annual Anzac Day cricket match between teams from Mapleton and Montville.
SEE THURSDAY'S SUNSHINE COAST DAILY FOR THE BEST ANZAC COVERAGE AND PICTURES.
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