Thousands gather to honour Orange's war heroes on 'emotional' day

Thousands of spectators lined Summer Street and flooded Robertson Park to support Orange’s war veterans at Friday's 11am service.

Among the marchers were servicemen and women from World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, accompanied for the first time officially by descendants of the fallen, and school students.

Norma Corse and Nita Bowers marched for their father Fred Rauchle who enlisted in the navy at just 14 years of age. Mr Rauchle served with the 4th Field Engineers, taking part in the Gallipoli landing when he was 17. 

He later served in Europe and was awarded the Medal for the Somme and the Croix de Guerre, the highest Belgian military honour.

During WWII, he served as a regimental sergeant in the Second AIF 54th Battalion.

Ms Corse said she was very proud to represent him.

“He was a military man and very strict. He always used to lead the march,” she said.

Joseph Sullivan marched with  his sister Janice Middleton and daughter Jane Bayutti in honour of his father James Patrick Sullivan.

James Sullivan served at Fromelles, was shot twice and was considered for a Victoria Cross for pulling wounded soldiers back behind the lines.

“It’s about the sacrifice the previous generations made for our freedom and the kids really respond to that"

Ms Bayutti said it was an honour to march with her father to remember her grandfather.

“It was a bit emotional because Dad is so proud of what his dad did and he was a bit of a hero,” she said.

Laying a wreath was an emotional experience for Chloe Morgan, who laid the wreath without her great-uncle, Vietnam veteran Les Frost, for the first time after he passed away almost a month ago.

“I’ve marched with the Vietnam veterans since I was three,” she said.

“I was happy because I got to wear his medals with pride.”

Dean Wilson, 18, from Orange, marched for his grandfather, William Boyle, who served as a commando in WWII, but was too frail to attend the event.

“He told me how he used to steal beer and then go sell it, but I don’t really need to ask what he did and didn’t see. I feel privileged to be his grandson,” he said.

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Orange High School principal David Lloyd said the school had more than 200 students participating, including the band.

“We were the first high school to celebrate Anzac Day and we’ve maintained it every year,” he said.

“It’s about the sacrifice the previous generations made for our freedom and the kids really respond to that.”

OHS prefect Cameron Sharp said the day was about national pride.

“It’s great to celebrate the selflessness, the courage, the bravery. It would have been a hard thing to run into battle, but they didn’t back down,” he said.

Captain Greg Laxton delivered the commemorative address.

“We remember them, not necessarily for what they achieved not for whether they were victories or defeats, rather, we remember them for the quality of the human endeavour,” he said.

“I’m particularly pleased to see so many children here, just seeing a thousand children participate in this march is incredible.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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