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The West Otago Returned Services Association's Horace McAuley officiated at Tapanui's first recorded dawn service.
A crowd of more than 400 heard Harriet Keown, who was a young ambassador to France last year, speak about young people making the most of the opportunities they were given in life, he said.
Mr McAuley said young New Zealanders, this year especially, could understand many who died at Gallipoli were killed in their youth.
''They do come very quickly to realise those young men who fought in those wars were no older than perhaps what they [modern day young people] are now.''
He did not know if Tapanui would hold a dawn service next year, but this year was ''incredible''.
''People were still shaking their heads at the end of it and just saying how great it was,'' he said.
There was standing room only in the Heriot Community Centre .
Numbers were also up at the Dunrobin War Memorial service to mark the 100-year anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove.