Patrick and Jessi Scanlon from Maryborough with their children Winter, 2, and Parker, 3, were up early to pay their respects to the fallen at this year's Maryborough Anzac Day dawn service.
Patrick and Jessi Scanlon from Maryborough with their children Winter, 2, and Parker, 3, were up early to pay their respects to the fallen at this year's Maryborough Anzac Day dawn service. Alistair Brightman

M'boro mum keeps Anzac spirit alive by giving back

JESSI Scanlon has only missed one Anzac Day service in her life.

And that was for the birth of her daughter two years ago.

For the Maryborough mother, paying respects to those who have fallen is not just a tradition but a necessary part of being in the community.

True to tradition, Ms Scanlon was up early this year to attend the Maryborough dawn service with her husband Patrick Scanlon and her two-year-old daughter Winter and three-year-old son Parker.

From the age of eight, the now 29-year-old and her sister Tamara Thomsen were performing at Anzac Day events with her proud parents watching on.

"My sister and I used to sing at the Anzac Day ceremony each year," she said.

"We grew up in Teebar, which is about 70km out of Maryborough, and would go to the Broweena service.

"We never missed it and it was very important to us.

"We would sing I Am Australian, the national anthem and the hymns."

Born and bred in the area, Ms Scanlon would love to see her own children grow up to be involved in the service and follow in her footsteps.

"We have always been involved in the community and I strongly believe it has helped me become the person I am today, so I would love to see them involved," she said.

"We go to the service to show our respect for what our soldiers did for us, so today we can live freely and enjoy the life we have in Australia."

Like any mother with young kids Ms Scanlon was nervous about taking children to memorial events in case they made noise or distracted others from a special moment.

That was until she heard the words of a returned serviceman.

"He said that you shouldn't be worried about bringing your kids and them making a noise in the minute's

silence because at the end of the day they are there," she said.

"He said don't hold back, bring the kids because it means that they are being brought up to appreciate and know of their sacrifice.

"He felt like bringing the next generation, who are only living the way they do because of the sacrifice, is actually a family's way of saying thank you to veterans.

"And those words really meant something to me."

Teaching the next generation about the stories of the Anzacs and past wars in Australia's history is important to Ms Scanlon, especially as she has a family member serving in the armed forces.

"My brother-in-law is serving in the navy and has done tours," she said.

"The stories which are passed on aren't nice stories but they are necessary.

"Considering how little our children are, this year we were trying to explain to my son the soldiers were people who went to war and fought for us.

"That's about as far as we went with him but probably in the coming years my husband and I will decide about how to approach it and the best way for them to understand and recognise what they did for us.

"We want to educate them about our history.

"Some people just think Anzac Day is a holiday but it is so much more than that."