Returned servicemen Jim Wieland, Frank Noonan, Aaron Causton and Lee-James Dickinson commemorated Anzac Day at Miriam Vale.
Returned servicemen Jim Wieland, Frank Noonan, Aaron Causton and Lee-James Dickinson commemorated Anzac Day at Miriam Vale. Tegan Annett

Small country town rich in Anzac spirit

WAR and relocating to a small country town 70km from Gladstone unites these four patriotic men.

The four Miriam Vale men are modest about the more than 30 years of military experience they share between them, Frank Noonan in Vietnam, Lee-James Dickinson in Afghanistan, Aaron Causton in East Timor and Jim Wieland in Iraq, the Solomon Islands, East Timor and the Middle East.

Mr Wieland spent 28 years with the Royal Australian Regiment Infantry and finished his army career in a senior role as an RSM warrant officer class one.

He gave a speech to more than 200 people who gathered around the Miriam Vale cenotaph at 4.30 yesterday morning, well before the sun rose during the Anzac Day dawn service.

Mr Wieland said, for a small township, Miriam Vale had a strong sense of Anzac spirit and patriotism, something he only noticed after completing his 28 years in the army.

"You don't really notice it until after you've finished serving, that the Anzac spirit has been heavily incorporated into the Australian way of life,” Mr Wieland said.

"Even at the Commonwealth Games, when there were four athletes left on the field after the women's 10km long distance running event, including the three Aussie girls.

"To me that is born from the Anzac spirit of lending a helping hand.”

The dawn service and commemorations throughout the day were a community effort, with Miriam Vale State School children singing the national anthem, Mr Dickinson saying the ode, Mr Noonan arranging traditional two-up and Mr Wieland reading a speech.

He thanked the Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan, for his help too, with many veterans and residents gathering there for the rest of the day for refreshments and a few rounds of two up.



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