ANZAC Day has become perhaps the most solemn day on Australia's secular calendar.
For a nation that admires its larrikinism, it is a rare day that is so revered in our national consciousness.
It is a day to celebrate bravery and service, but not conflict. The sacrifice and selflessness is what we honour on Anzac Day, not the reasons it had to be made or those lives lost, some senselessly if valiantly.
It is a day to remember that war carries a horrible cost not only for nations, but for those called upon to contribute to the fighting and the families that wait at home.
It is a day to remember that the duty to serve at great personal risk is a tradition that continues today, that today's serving personnel are tomorrow's veterans.
It is a day to remember that those who serve deserve not only our respect, but our unwavering support as they return to our historically safe shores.
Those whose loved ones return home are the lucky ones, but even they carry with them the wounds of war both physical and internal.
Mark Snedden says his great grandfather and great uncle, who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, rarely spoke of their service.
Those who served have earned the right to decide how they handle such experiences that many of us hope to never fully comprehend. They have also earned the right to be supported with that enormous burden that they took up on behalf of those who could not carry it.
A 2010 study found 27.6 per cent of Australian Defence Force members were concerned reporting a mental disorder might result in being treated differently.
Only 10 per cent less sought help for stress, emotional, mental health or family problems. Tellingly, 36.9 per cent reported the highest barrier to seeking help was concern it would reduce their deployability.
Stigma around mental health is not limited to those who serve, yet it is testament to their courage that many refuse to seek help out of concern it will impact their duty.
That sentiment is misguided. What must come first is the wellbeing of these admirable Australians who have displayed a willingness to sacrifice what others will not.
Countless monuments to those sacrifices past and present in the Hunter and beyond will be thronged by people in this morning's darkness.
But perhaps none is as evocative as Nobbys, where the waves crash on the sand throughout.
Newcastle RSL sub-branch president Ken Fayle says that the region's strength of support is linked to the community's strength overall.
Anzac Day 2019: Newcastle and Hunter Anzac Day services
Police will be out in force doing their duty today and expect a busy period. Beyond offering thanks to those who have served, perhaps the greatest mark of respect on this day of remembrance is to celebrate it peacefully, the way those who did not make it home would wish.
Lest we forget.