IT FIRST flew over the Tarin Kot military base in Afghanistan.

On Friday, the Australian flag donated by RAAF veteran Christine Bell flew at half mast in Freedom Park as the stars shone over a crowd in the thousands, gathered for the Anzac Day dawn service in Hervey Bay.

Hervey Bay RSL sub-branch president John Kelsey said it was fitting, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, to honour both the original Anzacs and the young veterans now serving.

The sun began to rise as veterans made a tight, neat march into the park.

The moon was still out as the anthems of New Zealand and Australia were played to conclude the ceremony.

The sober mood of the dawn service was replaced with a sense of celebration and recognition at Hervey Bay's march.

School children, community groups and veterans marched from Hunter St to the Anzac amphitheatre at Freedom Park.

Along the lined route residents applauded and waved flags.

As the rear of the parade marched in to the Freedom Park service a crowd, estimated to be more than 5000, applauded.

Mr Kelsey noted the crowd was "absolutely fantastic".

Private Bill Goodland served in New Guinea and Borneo during the Second World War.

He goes to services every year with his son, and has watched the attendance grow.

"I get very emotional when I come to these things," he said. "It's growing bigger and bigger - they won't be able to stop it. I'm 94 so I hope to come to these much more."

Pte Goodland uses April 25 to reflect and remember.

"To think what they went through, and Borneo, as far as I know- they helped to save Australia for these people that are here now."

Below: Hervey Bay march

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