A HEAVY silence descended on Murwillumbah at midday as the town paid tribute to a son and brother who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church witnessed a brave and heartfelt tribute to Private Nathan Bewes from his family before the flag-draped casket, carried by some of Pte Bewes closest mates, moved outside.
Soldiers from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) and students from Mount Saint Patrick College, Pte Bewes’ former school, created a guard of honour which stretched down main street.
More than 1000 people in Murwillumbah’s CBD stopped what they were doing and stood in tribute to the fallen soldier and his family as the cortege moved through town to a private burial at Tweed Valley Lawn Cemetery.
The service for Pte Bewes stopped Murwillumbah and even the Federal Election campaign.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott sat side-by-side in the front row of the church, flanked by Defence Minister John Faulkner and NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.
Pte Bewes family, including father Gary, mother Fay, sister Stephanie, partner Alice Walsh, plus cousins Sam and David Preston, were comforted by friends on the steps, before hopping into waiting cars which followed the casket through Murwillumbah.
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