ITS power possesses us to wake even before the dawning of the sun.

We rise, we dress, we put on our game face and we pay our respects.

What other day of the year could possibly motivate us all to do this? And it's not even a work day.

Yet, together we stand for this one day each year.

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I rolled out of bed and wandered down to the war memorial to attend the South Grafton pre-dawn service at 5am this morning.

Strangely enough, however, it was a relief - rather than a hindrance - to prematurely begin my day.

For I spent a restless, sleepless night to the constant, widespread sound of drunks screaming abhorrent obscenities, fighting and yahoo-ing wafting into my bedroom window.

This is what you can expect when South Grafton Rebels defeat Grafton Ghosts in a rugby league local derby at McKittrick Park - as they did yesterday for the first time in eons.

>> RUGBY LEAGUE: Rebels prevail in derby demolition

It was a gallant, high quality display and players from both sides should hold their heads high for the way they conducted themselves on the field. It's a great shame about the fans though.

While it's great to see the local team stand tall and good to see the community celebrate, once the alcohol sets in these nights can be downright terrifying. My partner has lived in Australia for 18 months and she hasn't heard such callous, violent language in her country of birth. It's inconceivable to her.

I sometimes feel embarrassed to be Australian. It's a common feeling when travelling overseas. Not many countries can match the rudeness, callousness and disrespect some of our kind can muster.

We do, however, have the full spectrum. While I can guess how many of that offensive mob in the park rose to attend dawn services across the Clarence Valley this morning, we DO have some of the most generous, kind and inspirational people on the planet.

We DO come together on April 25 each and every year to pay solemn respect.

The raucous died down for a mere two hours, the air replenished and cleansed by the rain, which stopped again soon after my alarm sounded at 4.30am, revealing the gibbous moon just in time for a community to pay homage to our fallen heroes.

In the darkness of the same riverside parkland where just hours earlier our nation's uncouth reality echoed across the night sky, the chilling, lonesome sound of The Last Post cut the crisp air like a knife.

The torment in my mind returned to peace. I felt bloody proud to be an Australian.

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