Thousands of people stood in silence at Kiama's Blowhole Point as the strains of the Last Post filled the air and the first light crept into the sky on Anzac Day 2021.
During Kiama's dawn service, councillor Neil Reilly recited from a poem written by a young Kiama soldier, Private JW Carr, as he departed for war in 1916.
"We're leaving you, Kiama, for a far and distant shore
In a week or so we'll say goodbye. Perhaps forever more
The glimmer from the lighthouse that the lonely sentry sees
And the Sunday morning Church parades, when we get on our knees
The blowhole and the motor rides we had to Jamberoo
Will always bring sweet memories I know to me and you
So au revoir, Kiama
You have treated us right well
We'll think of you in Flanders and we'll think of you in hell."
Private JW Carr went on to become a lance corporal, Cr Reilly said, but did not return from World War I - he was killed in April 1918, at Villers-Bretonneux.
"We're not here to glorify war; certainly, far from it," Cr Reilly said.
"But to commemorate the sacrifice and service of those who have fallen, and those who have served.
"We're here to honour them all."
Bugler Warwick Sporne played the Last Post and the Reveille on a bugle that was at Gallipoli, dented by shrapnel and bearing the finger imprint of its owner long ago.
The dawn service was the first in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kiama-Jamberoo RSL Sub-branch president Mongo Delamont said it attracted one of the biggest crowds ever.
"It's heartening to see so many people," Mr Delamont said, particularly young people.
Among those paying tribute was Lindel Oliver from Nowra, whose father Herbert Brassington served overseas for five years during World War II, with the 9th Division.
Her husband Kevin and son Mitchell also served, in Vietnam and with the SAS, and peacekeeping in the Solomon Islands and East Timor, respectively.
"It's respect for my dad, my son, my husband, they all served overseas in war zones. That makes it close to my heart, but should all respect," Mrs Oliver said.
Jon Brindle wore the medals of his grandfather Robert Charles Schultz, who served in WWII, to the service.
Mr Schultz served in Egypt, Syria, Palestine and the Pacific, and returned home from the war to live until the age of 102.
Mr Brindle and Jess Wynands were in Kiama, visiting from Sydney.
Mr Brindle said Anzac Day was about remembering what our grandparents did to make the country what it was today.
Active service people were also among the crowd, including Navy lieutenants Rhianna Nelson and Chantelle Reay.
Lieutenant Nelson said Anzac Day reminded her of why she did what she did, and was an occasion to remember what came before and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Lieutenant Reay said it was also an occasion to pay respect to their friends who were serving overseas and sacrificing so much, and all those who made such sacrifices.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.