Bridge-top Anzac event pulls heartstrings

·2-min read

At the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Danielle Couch stood still in the cold, watched the Anzac Day sun rise and listened to the Australian flag flap in the breeze.

The 28-year-old RAN principal warfare officer was one of a lucky few to commemorate Anzac Day at the apex of The Coathanger- 134m above the water.

"It was incredible - such an iconic landmark of Australia and during the silence period we got to listen to just the sound of the flag blowing in the wind, which I found particularly moving," she told AAP on Sunday.

"The silence I find is the most moving part because it would've been very silent before they landed there (at Gallipoli) 106 years ago.

"A good time to go through what you think they might've been going through."

Lt Couch and RAN colleague Emma Burr won an RSL NSW giveaway to scale the bridge, having made their pitch in writing for a spot at the dawn service.

Lt Couch in her submission outlined her wish to commemorate the day alongside her husband and best friend, both in military service.

And while her close mate - a Royal New Zealand Navy member - couldn't make it, Lt Couch shared Sunday's special moment with her RAN-enlisted partner.

Having commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing in 2015 at Anzac Cove, she said Sunday was no less memorable.

"It's a time to reflect and also appreciate the sacrifices that've been made for this country, particularly those who have served."

RSL LifeCare general manager Nicki Young, whose organisation hosted the Anzac Day dawn service on the bridge, said the experience was special - particularly after the difficulties of a pandemic-affected 2020.

The bridge-top Anzac tradition began in 2006 but LifeCare - which provides support services to veterans - hosted the event for the first time this year.

Ms Young said a full Anzac dawn service was held including prayers, an ode of remembrance and a bugler.

"On top of the bridge, there was probably 20 or 30 people so it was a bit surreal - a small crowd, intimate, and a real opportunity to reflect and take in the view and think about those who've come before us," she told AAP.

"For us in the military and veterans, camaraderie and mateship are some of the key cultural aspects of our service and probably what keeps us serving.

"Not having that opportunity to get together (in 2020) and tell your stories and have a bit of a laugh with your fellow mates, that was really tough."

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