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Around 38,000 people braved the cold for this morning’s Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial.

Colonel Susan Neuhaus delivered the commemorative address – the first woman to do so.

She used part of her speech to explore the role of women in the Australian Defence Force.

“There are also the names of women. Women who from the Boer War onwards have served with gallantry, have been prisoners of war and have died wearing the uniform of this nation.”

War Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson said today’s about commemoration, as well as friendship and love.

“Love for friends and between friends, love of family and love of our country. It’s us paying respects to men and women whose lives are devoted to themselves, but to us, and their last moments to one another,” he said.

“We are free in so small way because 102,800 men and women have given their lives for us, for our freedoms, in our uniform, under our flag, for our values.”

Dr Nelson said it’s particularly inspiring to see the reaction of young people on Anzac Day.

“It’s not shallow nationalistic jingoism, it’s a dignified respect for people who do the upmost they possibly can for the rest of us."

The National Ceremony gets underway at 10:30am.

The Commemorative Addresss will be delivered by The Honourable Kim Beazley with another address by World War II veteran Bob Semple – one of the Rats of Tobruk.

“Bob will speak not about where he went and what he did, but reflect on some of the things he saw and what it means to our generation,” Dr Nelson said.

Did you attend the Dawn Service this morning? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

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