The enduring legacy of the Anzacs goes far beyond courage, determination, mateship and sacrifice, Williamtown RAAF Base's aircraft woman Olivia Rossi told the crowd at Morpeth Anzac Day Service on Thursday.
It also encompasses the value they put upon "independence, freedom and fairness", she said.
"The men and women who forged the Anzac spirit made sure that those who led them earned their respect. They all understood the values of independence, freedom and fairness and above all, possessed a willingness to defend these things even if need be," she said.
"Because freedom only survives as long as people are willing to defend it. That is the spirit Anzac has handed down to us. If we lose the Anzac spirit we lose all.
"The names on public memorials existing in virtually all our towns and cities are important reminders of the losses our nations felt in those darker days. The Anzacs indeed demand and deserve the respect and remembrance of present and future generations of all New Zealanders and Australians regardless of race, colour, or greed."
Hundreds of people - from babies to the elderly, gathered around the cenotaph outside Morpeth Museum to pay tribute to servicemen and servicewomen past and present.
Students from several schools joined veterans and their families in a march along the main street before the service. Some of the students took on reading roles in the service.
Veteran, and event organiser, Max Lantry acknowledged the students' contribution and reminded them that it would be up to them to carry on the Anzac Day tradition in the future.
Mr Lantry has been involved in organising the event for 24 years and was pleased to see mother nature had granted his wish for a sunny day.
"I'd like to thank all of those in attendance it's an absolutely magnificent effort. I'd like to thank those who took part in any way, and believe me, there is a lot of work behind the scenes, there are a lot of people involved and they do a fantastic job," he said.
"I'd like to complement all the school children in attendance today for your participation in our service. Not only are you a credit to your mum and dad, your school, but you are a credit to yourselves and you are the future of this great nation."