By Bonny Burrows and Helena Adeloju
Scores of residents have paid their respects to Australia’s servicemen and women this week at Anzac commemorations across the region.
An estimated 150 Beaconsfield locals attended a Sunday afternoon service, commencing with a march from Beaconsfield Fire Station to the town’s cenotaph.
Keynote speaker Vivienne Williams OAM spoke on animals of the war, the “forgotten army” and the important role they played.
Musical items were presented by Cranbourne Salvation Army Recorder Ensemble and Casey Choir. Prayers and blessings were led by Graeme Dunkley, Senior Pastor, Beaconsfield Baptist Church.
Pakenham’s Anzac Day dawn service commenced at the crack of light on Tuesday.
Against the backdrop of heavy grey cloud and rain, the strains of a lone bagpipe rang out.
Hundreds of residents had gathered to pay their respects to family, fellow comrades or complete strangers who fought for the freedom we have today.
Among the crowds were Andrew Millar and his wife, who were expecting a new arrival just hours later.
Despite the impending birth and wet weather, they felt it was important they attend.
“We’ve got a little one due today,” Mr Miller said.
“We are paying our respects to the people who fought for our country.”
The downpour of heavy rain also couldn’t deter attendees of Berwick’s morning service.
The town’s main street was flooded with people braving the wild autumn conditions to commemorate the landing at Gallipoli.
Vietnam veteran Ray Heathcote was guest speaker and told how his family was touched by war.
His uncles were also in the war, while his grandfather was gassed in WWI.
It was these ultimate sacrifices, he said, that shaped Australia into the country it is.
“We gather to acknowledge those who have paid the ultimate price for those things we take for granted today,” Mr Heathcote said.
These services were just a few of many held across communities, organisations and schools, with each choosing to commemorate the landmark event in their own way.