Anzac legend remembered at Lismore service
"MOST kids march with their grandparent's medals, my grandpa marches with my medals".
After years of marching in the Lismore Anzac Day parade as a primary and high school student, Private Luke Devlin returned to march as a war veteran in his home town for the first time.
The former Lismore High School captain was a paratrooper with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, serving in Afghanistan in 2010 during Operation Slipper.
Mr Devlin said Anzac Day was a big day for his family.
"They had always brought me down through primary school and high school," he said.
"But ever since I've been in the army when I got home from my trips I got a set of replicas made for them.
"So most kids march with their grandparent's medals, my grandpa marches with my medals, which I think is very sweet."
Mr Devlin said for him, Anzac Day was a day for catching up with old friends and talking about past trips and experiences.
"It was a different one coming up here and spending it with people who probably have similar experiences but weren't immediately involved with me," he said.
"We still have the same stories even though we weren't ever (serving) together.
"It's an incredible service that Lismore puts on."
Major Susana Henderson (nee Fernandez), who was a commander of an Australian Army helicopter detachment in Afghanistan and the first female Australian Defence Force Academy graduate to complete the Army's pilot training course, spoke about the similarities between past and present soldiers during the Lismore service.
"Over the last century, soldiering has changed significantly," she said.
"Younger veterans have a very different experience. As one myself, I would never presume to relate to the extreme trail and test endured by those who fought at the Anzac legend in Gallipoli.
"Whilst warfare has evolved, soldiers have evolved with it. However there is much that remains the same. The history books tell us that Australian soldiers have always had a reputation for being fierce fighters in battle.
"And this has not changed. When I remember the face of the infantry men and special forces that were carried in the back of my unit's helicopters, their steely resolve was the same.
"Today's soldier shows the same bravery, mateship, the drive to win adversary and above all those same ideals that go by the name of duty and honour.
"Something that I learnt in Afghanistan is that Australian soldiers do not fight because we hate what's in front of us, we fight because we love what we have left behind."