JASON Roberts is the sort of man who knows the true meaning of Anzac Day.
As a second generation member of the Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer Roberts said he believed that the mateship and camaraderie within the Defence Force was just as strong 100 years since the Gallipoli campaign.
“Initially, I thought I would join for three years and then I’d get out and do something else,” he said.
“But 25 years later, I’m still here - it’s the mateship and the diversity of the work that makes me so proud of what I do.
“I can’t imagine you can get it anywhere else.”
As for the new generation coming through the ranks, Roberts said he believed they got a bad rap when it came to why they were serving.
“The men and women who are coming through now are just as proud and just as professional as any generation, and they’re here for the same reasons,” he explained.
“Our values haven’t changed as a nation.”
Indeed, those values and the Anzac spirit will be on display this week as Australia pauses to recognise the centenary of the Gallipoli battle, with both a dawn service and street parade to be held in Katherine on April 25.
RAAF Base Tindal personnel will conduct a flyover during the march down the Stuart Highway.
“It’s not just a day for the Defence Force, it’s for all Australians,” WO Roberts said.
“And it’s really heart-warming to see the crowds boosting every year.
“Certainly, you don’t get much of a prouder moment than marching down your local main street and to have that gratitude shown to you.
“It sounds corny, but you puff out the chest and you just feel really proud of what you do.”