Veteran Mick O'Reilly, 93, of Maclean.
Veteran Mick O'Reilly, 93, of Maclean. Lynne Mowbray

Anzac medal recipient grateful

FOR Benemerenti Medal recipient Mick Reilly, Anzac Day grows in significance each year.

The 93-year-old veteran, who has been to the Anzac Day service at Maclean every year since 1950, said that to him the day meant family and remembrance.

“It means everything to me and my family,” he said.

“My family from Bribie Island, Toowoomba and Brisbane come to Maclean for the occasion.”

Mr Reilly said he was very grateful to enjoy celebrating another Anzac Day at his age.

“I can't believe that I have lived to see these sorts of days,” he said.

“Most people only live to 75 or 80.”

Mr Reilly, who was awarded the Benemerenti Medal for service with distinction to the Church, family and the community, by the Pope after a recommendation from Father Fitzwalter, said the crowd of young people was uplifting.

“With all of the young people here today the meaning of Anzac Day has more effect than ever.”

Led by veterans in vintage cars and a Scottish band, more than 50 ex-servicemen and their relatives marched along River St to the Maclean Cenotaph.

The emotion of the day was written on the faces of many of the hundreds who gathered at Maclean.

One veteran adorned with medals declined to comment to The Daily Examiner about what Anzac Day meant to him.

“I will start crying if I talk about it,” he said.

On holiday in the Clarence from Coffs Harbour, Blake Hall proudly showed his patriotism during the service waving his Australian flag.

The 10-year-old said he had attended a few Anzac Day services over the years at Coffs Harbour and always enjoyed the day.

“To me it means remembering the soldiers, all the people that died at war, and Gallipoli,” he said.

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