As the Last Post rung out in the centre of Wodonga before dawn, Major Wendi McAdie thought of her father.
"On Anzac Day I think about service and sacrifice, and I think about them, especially my father, who served in World War II," she said.
"It's very haunting to hear the last post ... it was played at his funeral."
Major McAdie and her husband, Warrant Officer Class One Andrew McAdie, were among the thousands who filled Woodland Grove.
The pair haven't missed a dawn service in the 16 years they've been living in Baranduda.
"I've been in the army for 35 years, and Andrew 40 years," Major McAdie said.
"I'm at Puckapunyal at the moment and Andrew works at the Army Logistic Training Centre.
"While we get sent all over Australia, we enjoy coming back here."
WO McAdie commanded an arm of maintenance vehicles in East Timor, while during Major McAdie's deployment to Afghanistan she was assistant to the senior engineer in theatre.
"Our job was to train the coalition and Afghani forces in trades and building infrastructure," she said.
"It's a rewarding job when you can assist people.
"You hear about stories from the young Anzacs about being excited and feeling the sense of adventure, and it's similar to that (when you are deployed), but it becomes real as soon as your boots are on the ground."
The conditions greeting those soldiers on the shores of Gallipoli more than 100 years ago were front of mind for many at the dawn service.
New Wodonga resident Rhonda Brooker wore the medals of New Zealander Walter Kingsford, including one bearing a bronze oak leaf, for those Mentioned in Despatches which recognised acts of bravery.
"I'm very proudly wearing my father's medals, he served for four and a half years in World War II," she said.
"He was wounded but refused to be taken to the Red Cross."
Mrs Brooker and her husband Des, originally from New Zealand, retired to Wodonga from Sydney 18 months ago.
Friends Margaret and Neil Brimblecombe joined them, flying over for Easter.
Mr Brimblecombe was with the Royal New Zealand Navy for 22 years and was among two frigates, including from Australia's navy, to protest French nuclear bomb testing at Mururoa Atoll in 1973.
"Wherever we go in the world on Anzac Day, we try to go to a service and parade," he said.
"Over the last 40 years I've seen more and more children attend the services - they are the future of this day - and Australia is no different.
"For all that Australians and Kiwis poke fun at each other over sporting fields or whatever, Anzac Day is the one day that glues us all together and that will never change."
Hundreds of those attending the dawn service joined current and retired servicemen and women at the Wodonga RSL for their annual breakfast.
Vietnam vet John Bulcock spoke about his deployment and said he can still recall his service number from the Citizen's Military Force, today known as the Army Reserve.
"Some things you never forget," he said.
"I joined the Army in 1961 when I was 22, but I was in the CMF before then.
"I saw Vietnam, and did a 12-month stint down in the Antarctic, which is very rare.
"The army sent me to Wodonga in 1974 to the training centre, I taught electronics for about 10 years, and left the Army in 1984 to another government department, Foreign Affairs and Trade."
Mr Bulcock said spending time on Macquarie Island half-way between Australia and Antarctica was a memorable part of his service.
"It's the most isolated spot on this man's Earth," he said.
Jordan Judd, 13, attended his first dawn service with his grandfather and said he remembered being told about Vietnam and Antarctica.
"The service was good; today is about remembering the Anzacs and those who died," he said.