Alstonville remembers sacrifices and service personnel
"ANZAC Day is not for us, it's those of us who are not here.”
Still standing ramrod straight, former Regimental Sargent Major Sid Lewis, wore a sprig of rosemary amongst his medals and said it is an honour to march on Anzac Day in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
When Mr Lewis decided to join the army in 1942, the then-16 year-old aged two years overnight, following a family tradition of altering his age to serve his country.
"My age was confused with an 18-year-old,” he said with a smile.
"My father fought in WW1 in the Light Horse and he lowered his age from 53 to 35 to serve in WW2.”
Mr Lewis service saw him stationed on the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea, then was demobbed in 1946. A few years later he joined the Army Reserve and spent 27 years in the 1/15 Lancers.
Now 91, Mr Lewis proudly marched with his colleagues in the Alstonville RSL Sub-Branch as they followed the Ballina Pipe Band from the Paddy Bugden VC memorial to Elizabeth Anne Brown Park, where hundreds of people gathered to for civic service.
In the presence of a memorial guard provided by the 41st Royal New South Wales Regiment, along with representatives from other regiments and services, Mr Lewis laid a wreath.
After the service he was delighted to be approached by young Victor Hobday.
His mother Parris said her five-year-old son made a beeline for the solider.
"He picked you out of the crowd because of your beret, he said he wanted to meet you,” she said to Mr Lewis.
When Mr Lewis kneeled down, Victor took his hand.
"The soldiers saved us, thank you,” he said.
Watching the boy walk away, Mr Lewis gave a gentle smile.
"It's a great lift the recognition,” he said.
"But the recognition, it's not us, it's for those that are not here.”