TONIGHT Brad Christensen will set his alarm to 4.30am. The new day will be April 25 and with his wife, Michelle they will wake their children so they can prepare to attend the Anzac Day dawn service in Taree.
The Christensen clan will be one of many families that will gather at services throughout the Manning Valley and it is expected that hundreds of people will wake early but Brad is keen to see that number swell to thousands.
Brad is a Greater Taree City councillor and recently applauded council's four-year involvement in the Wingham to Wauchope War Veterans Remembrance Drive project. He hopes it will be a catalyst for greater education of young people about the First World War and the people who left the region to go to war and the people who settled in the region following the war.
"I want our youth to learn all about our great diggers who landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, to fight alongside New Zealand troops who formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula," Brad said.
"In the end the allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties in which over 8000 Australian soldiers had been killed.
"There is so much for our kids to learn in regards to this part of our history and I feel they should be taught it, and that's why I believe all parents should make the effort to get to a dawn service and hear that bugler's wake up call, 'Reveille'!
"To learn about the 'stand-to' call in which the soldiers were woken in the dark before dawn, so they were awake and ready for attack at half light of dawn. Soldiers had to be alert and manning their weapons and this was known as the 'stand-to'.
"As dusk was equally favourable for attacks, the process was repeated at sunset.
"This is all so amazing to me and would be to so many of our young."
Greater Taree City mayor Paul Hogan recently announced the War Veterans Remembrance Drive project at a meeting of council and said the drive was to celebrate the commencement of the Centenary of the First World War.
Cr Hogan described the War Veterans Remembrance Drive as a "meritorious project" and said it would be a community driven project "that seeks to recognise the people who left the region to go to war and the people who settled in the region following the war."
"It also recognises Australia's first Victoria Cross recipient and seeks to embed these historical events in a drive that is not only available to all Australians but also has a focus on the education of young children through a co-ordinated school based program," Cr Hogan explained.
Greater Taree City Council has been working on the project with Port Macquarie Hastings Council and a project steering committee for more than four years.
"The Wingham to Wauchope drive is sensational in itself, culminating in the Ellenborough Falls. A centrepiece of the drive will be the Howse VC Memorial near the falls," Cr Hogan said.
"As well as this centrepiece, the memorial drive will feature halls and schools along the route that will provide designated rest areas where visitors can learn interesting facts relating to our regional and military history.
"The schools on the route are enthusiastic participants in the project and the drive will form a memorable Australian historical story that will be able to be accessed by school students in day trips from the Hunter, Central Coast and North Coast. It is also intended to produce an online presence that is available to the world."
A full list of Anzac Day services in the Manning Valley can be found here.