WING Commander Patrick Hoare from Tooleybuc attended the Swan Hill Anzac Day service for the first time in 35 years last week.
Wing Commander Hoare has a total 35 years' service in the armed forces and has attended Anzac Day commemorations at home and abroad, but said this was his first time marking the day in Swan Hill.
Wing Commander Hoare grew up in Tooleybuc, he enlisted in the Australian Army as a general officer in 1983, serving 12 before he transferred to the Royal Australian Airforce.
Now working out of the headquarters air command RAF Gembrook Base in the beautiful Blue Mountains, he made the trip home to commemorate Anzac Day with family.
"Last year I marched in Sydney, as a soldier I marched down St Kilda and I have been overseas for some," he said.
"In 2003, when we were going into Iraq, I was in Malaysia and we had the ceremony on the water's edge.
"Doing it there, so close to the water's edge, it really brings Gallipoli home."
Wing Commander Hoare said April 25 was a time to reflect on those who had served before, while also remembering why people continue to serve today.
"Anzac Day is to remember the fallen, those who gave their lives so our country could continue to be free and as wonderful as it is."WING COMMANDER PATRICK HOARE
"It is important to remember a lot of the names up there didn't come home — they were all somebody's father, brother and son.
"Easy to say this is not about glorifying war, but it is about remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice."
Wing Commander Hoare said his own experience in the armed forces had highlighted how fortunate Australians are.
"Serving overseas has reinforced we are the lucky country," he said.
"And that is only because of those men and women and we serve to continue to protect what we have.
"It is special, Australia is a precious and a shining example of integration."