World War II veteran Sam Krycer still has the samurai sword he picked up in Indonesia when the Japanese surrendered.
The 100-year-old former leading aircraftman led Melbourne's Anzac Day march to the Shrine of Remembrance on Thursday, alongside other surviving Second World War veterans.
"It gets a bit emotional for me today. I didn't expect all of that," he told AAP of the scale of the proceedings.
The centenarian was on the island of Morotai with the air force for the formal surrender of the Japanese 2nd Army in September 1945 and brought the sword home.
"It's just amazing what can happen to just an ordinary Australian," he said.
Despite the years, Thursday's march in Melbourne was only Mr Krycer's second.
"I still feel humbled, really, (to) see these young boys," he said afterwards.
"I also remember all the thousands of those who didn't make it back home. So it's not all smiles."
The veteran was one of an estimated 65,000 people participating in the city's Anzac commemorations, including the march from Federation Square to the Shrine of Remembrance.
On the sidelines of the march, Carl Chung became emotional, thinking of his son who is based in Queensland with the army.
"I just pray to God to protect all those who are serving," he said.
"I keep reminding my son I'm so proud of him."
Another World War II veteran, 101-year-old Jack Bell, spoke about being shot down over Libya in 1942 and becoming a prisoner of war.
"As I went out I clutched the outside of the plane. It was red hot ... I left the skin behind," he told 3AW radio.
The air force veteran has no idea how he survived the crash-landing in the desert.
"The compassion shown to me by the German field medical staff was fantastic."
"I was badly injured there's no doubt about it. Shrapnel through my right leg, up through my abdomen, shoulder and arms."
Back in Australia, Mr Bell said he and fellow prisoners of war met up but had been "told not to speak to anyone" about their experiences.
"Without our wives, really I don't know how we would have got through it all," he said.
"I still have nightmares even now."
The veteran urged Australians to remember "there's no such thing as enemies".
"They're people just like we are."
Australian Associated Press