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The Anzac spirit is 'life-changing'

HIGHEST HONOUR: Proserpine State High School student Brooklyn Lade representing her state at the Anzac Day ceremonies in France earlier this year.
HIGHEST HONOUR: Proserpine State High School student Brooklyn Lade representing her state at the Anzac Day ceremonies in France earlier this year.

SILENCE.

That's the thing that sticks with Proserpine State High School school captain Brooklyn Lade the most.

The silence hanging thick despite the wet-eyed masses gathered at Villers- Bretonneux dawn service in France on Anzac Day this year during a rendition of The Last Post.

Brooklyn was among eight Queensland students who packed their bags for Gallipoli and the Western Front after winning the 2017 Premier's Anzac Prize.

Brooklyn made a multi-media presentation after reading about the competition in the school newsletter and said she submitted a five-minute video about the Anzac spirit in Australia.

Starting from a year 4 student, she interviewed veterans to families and finished with a 91-year-old woman who lost her husband to war.

With some tourist activities coupled into the European tour, Brooklyn visited museums, memorials and historic sites from London to Belgium.

Although terrorism fears meant she didn't spend Anzac Day at Gallipoli, Brooklyn said the highlight of her trip was having the honour of laying a wreath at the shrine which was broadcast on TV.

"It was an amazing, humbling, life changing experience,” she said.

"It was so powerful standing on the battlefield where the soldiers stood, some of them my age, and closing my eyes imagining there is a machine gun just over the ridge.”

In the lead up to the tour, Brooklyn researched three local soldiers from Proserpine, Billy Sing, Francis Ross and John Graham, and read eulogies for them at the grave sites in France.

"I didn't have a family link to WW1 but it was such an indescribable feeling the connection I had grieving over strangers.

"The service was at the very end of the tour, and it was a perfect moment to look back about everything I learned and sights I've seen - it all came into perspective in one moment.”

Topics:  anzac day gallipoli proserpine state high school

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