Loss of a friend brings home the meaning of day
HE was known for his contagious smile.
And it was Corporal Ashley Birt's smile I first recognised when I saw his picture in a newspaper last week next to a headline that told me he was dead - tragically murdered while serving in Afghanistan.
I knew him from my high school days when we worked together in a local takeaway store at Gympie.
I remember the last year we worked together, we often talked about getting our licences, our first cars, our final school marks and what we wanted to do once we left.
But mostly I remember his smile as he told me of his dreams in the army and what he wanted to achieve.
And it will be his smile I will remember at this year's Remembrance Day service and for many years to come.
Growing up, I often attended Remembrance Day services out of respect of those who died in wars long ago, wanting to pay tribute to the sacrifices they made for us.
But I never thought I would attend a service to pay respects to someone I knew personally.