Anzac Day means everything to Austin Asche and he believes it should to every Australian.
After serving in the Air Force in World War II the now 93-year-old embarked on a long legal career before being appointed an administrator of the Northern Territory - the equivalent to a state governor - in 1993.
In between, he was also the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the NT.
Yet none of it overshadows the significance of Anzac Day for him.
"It is part of what we grow up with, part of our culture given to us by brave men and women and many of our great men women have carried it on in Korea and Vietnam," Mr Asche said at Thursday's dawn service in Darwin.
"Wherever we are we must always remember to do it."
After addressing a crowd of several thousand at the Cenotaph War Memorial overlooking Darwin Harbour and the Timor Sea, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten made a beeline for him and they sat and quietly chatted.
Mr Shorten had told those present including locally-based Australian and US defence service workers, the sacrifices made in the past had allowed a free, democratic society.
He recalled the arrival of the Anzacs in Gallipoli 104 years ago and the bombing of Darwin and many other parts of Australia's north by the Japanese in 1942-43.
"The greatest legacy of Anzac is the free country we call home, the peace we live, the democracy we vote in," Mr Shorten said.
"Seventy-seven years ago bare metres from here and in the waters behind us ... Japanese bomb's brought war to Australia.
"Together we salute with respect and gratitude the courage of our veterans and together we pledge to do better and do more to help the new generation home from Afghanistan with the transition to civilian life," he said.
Mr Asche said he had enjoyed a visit to Darwin High School only the previous day.
"I saw kids who must have been every nationality ... all celebrating Anzac Day," he beamed.
"They may not (understand) yet but they will ... and they'll know that's being part of Australia carrying on tradition."
Australian Associated Press