Maj Gen salutes Emerald at service

Major General Mick Slater bows his head in respect as he places a wreath at the Emerald cenotaph during Monday’s dawn service.
Major General Mick Slater bows his head in respect as he places a wreath at the Emerald cenotaph during Monday’s dawn service. Rebekah Polley

HE promised to return and he was true to his word.

Major General Mick Slater was the special guest of honour at the Emerald dawn service and gunfire breakfast on Monday morning.

“I feel honoured and humbled to be here,” he said.

“It is Emerald and Anzac Day- it will always be special.”

Maj Gen Slater spoke at the dawn service and said Anzac Day was as much about future generations as it was for remembering those who fought and died for their country’s freedom.

“(The) Anzacs did what they did for us, people they would never know. But also for the future for our children so successive generations would have an active future,” he said.

He asked the crowd to reflect on the meaning of the day, to put themselves in the shoes of someone living in 1915, particularly from the perspective of parents sending their sons over to fight on the desolate shores of Gallipoli.

“For me, it (Anzac Day) is just a good reminder, a pretty solemn day for reflection,” he said after the dawn service.

“It’s a special day for all obvious reasons and it was good to spend it in the heartland of Australia, it means that little bit more.

“I wanted to spend Anzac Day somewhere in rural Queensland and Emerald asked if we wanted to come up and we jumped at the chance.

“Coming to Emerald on Anzac Day reminds me that Australia is far bigger than Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra.

“This is the heart and soul of Australia and people who live in rural areas contribute just as much, or more, to Australia - to its economy and its future - just as much as the capital cities.”

THREE people who were attending the dawn service collapsed during the proceedings and two were attended to by paramedics.

A 26-year-old woman and a 17-year-old male were airlifted to Rockhampton Hospital with injuries they sustained when they collapsed.

The woman suffered temporary memory loss after falling and hitting the side of her head and the male has suspected spinal injuries after falling heavily and hurting his neck.

The third person who collapsed was attended to by bystanders and required no further medical attention.

Maj Gen Slater flew to Dalby after the dawn service in Emerald ended.

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