THE Anzac legacy in Mount Gambier has undergone a major resurgence with more than 6000 people flocking to key centenary services on Saturday (April 25).
In what is believed to be the largest turn-out in decades, up to 4000 people huddled around the base of the cenotaph at the Mount Gambier war memorial for the emotional dawn service.
In a special and historic moment, the Mount Gambier Community RSL's new Anzac Flame was lit to mark 100 years since the landing at Anzac Cove.
The orange flame - one of only two presented to South Australia - flickered as the dawn broke over the floodlit war memorial.
A sprawling crowd of more than 2000 people also braved the inclement weather for the mid-morning service and the traditional Anzac parade.
While the numbers of War World II diggers dwindle each year, the last surviving servicemen either walked, drove scooters or were transported in cars down Commercial Street despite their growing fragility.
The Mount Gambier Aero Club also saluted diggers with a fly-over, which added to the ambience of the special occasion.
Mount Gambier's connection with the Anzac campaign was also felt across the globe at the historic Anzac Cove in Turkey.
Leigh Newton - a major in the Mount Gambier Army Reserve - laid a poppy at the headstone of Cuthbert Glen Davison at the Lone Pine Cemetery to remember the fallen soldier.
His gravesite is among the thousands that lay on the sweeping peninsula and is a reminder of the sacrifices made by Mount Gambier families.
Mount Gambier RSL president Bob Sandow yesterday said he was thrilled with the crowds at the two services.
"The dawn service had the largest crowd I have seen," Mr Sandow said.
"When the light lifted, I couldn't believe the amount of people - there were people out to the gun and down to the rotunda."
Speaking at the dawn service was Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Martin Ball, who was one of three highly-ranked Australian Defence Force personnel who attended the service.
"Today is a day of reflection and an opportunity for us all to show our appreciation for the sacrifice made by all our veterans who have served from our first conflict in the Sudan in 1882 to our more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan," Commander Ball said.
"We remember that even today we have our defence force members deployed in Iraq fighting the evil of ISIS with our allies."
He said the dawn service marked the 100th anniversary of the landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
"Anzac Day is the day we as a nation have chosen to remember all our sacrifices in all wars and conflicts," Commander Ball said.
"I think we all know the history of the campaign, the heroism, the slaughter, the stalemate, the trenches, the mistakes and the absolute horror our soldiers went through followed by the evacuation."
He said no part of Australia was untouched by Gallipoli.
More than 8000 soldiers were killed and 18,000 were wounded in only eight months.
"It is the human stories of Gallipoli that are the most poignant," Commander Ball said.
"Those family histories literally bring home the real sacrifices of Gallipoli."