From the sands of Gaza in World War II to the shore of a Gerringong beach, Australians have taken up the call to serve and protect.
On Anzac Day, veterans and serving members from the Gerringong RSL sub branch will reflect on the peaceful times after war.
While peace had been hard fought, for many the battle within continued when they returned home.
But some were lucky enough to find comfort in the camaraderie at surf life saving clubs.
Clubs have helped veterans return to their normal life and provided comfort to families of serving defence force personnel.
Gerringong's Brian Hawke is an active member of the Australian Army and recently returned from six months of operational service at the Australian Taskforce headquarters in the Gulf and then four months with a NATO mission in Baghdad, Iraq.
"Being a part of the Gerringong Surf Life Saving Club is a way of connecting and integrating with the community," he said. "The routine helps with the transition.
"It is great to come back to the club because it is part of normal life. It is just as great to know the club is a part of the lives of my family members while I am away."
Gerringong RSL sub branch president Glenn Kolomeitz said he had "no doubt" that surf clubs helped generations of veterans address their mental health issues.
He said Anzac Day was a chance to reflect on all conflicts but also how veterans integrated back into their communities after returning from operational service.
"During WWI, the bronzed Aussie digger was an icon but from 1919 onwards, people started to get used to peace," Mr Kolomeitz said.
"We saw this icon transition from a bronzed Aussie digger to a bronzed surf lifesaver. That's a tangible example of veterans transitioning back into their communities."
Mr Kolomeitz said returned veterans were instrumental in growing the surf life saving club movement.
"There are iconic images and footage of surf clubs marching and parading on beaches," he said.
"They line up like soldiers carrying their rescue reels, flags and banners.
"That is a direct influence from veterans returning from World War I.
"During World War II, Australian troops had a surf carnival on a Gaza beach.
"There is a direct nexus between veterans and the surf life saving movement in Australia."
Mr Hawke said he was not surprised Australian troops had such a strong connection with surf clubs.
"A defence member has to volunteer to serve and a club member has to volunteer to serve," he said.
"There is certainly a connection for those who are inclined to do their bit.
"I have had the opportunity to serve my nation overseas and I have the opportunity to do my bit for the community through patrolling at the club."
Mr Hawke, who has been in the Australian Defence Force for 30 years, became involved in the surf club through the Nippers program with his children.
"We came down, saw the program and loved it," he said. "Our son thrived. I became an assistant aged manager just to help out and then I became qualified to patrol.
"I come down to the beach on the weekend or during the summer holidays to make sure people are safe.
"This club is exceptionally strong and a positive influence in so many ways. They have the patrol, Nippers, annual ocean swim and it is a great part of the community."