YOUNG veterans, including those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, will lead next year’s Anzac Day parade in Bendigo.
Bendigo District RSL president Cliff Richards said the army, navy and air force traditionally rotated at the front of the annual parade down Pall Mall.
But he said those who had served post-1975 would lead next year’s march.
“It’s something we’ve given a bit of thought about,” he said.
“We think that group of men and women deserve to be up front.
“It’s those that have been to Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“As a Vietnam vet I call them younger vets.”
Mr Richards said there was a large contingent of post-Vietnam war soldiers in Bendigo.
“Certainly in 2014 we want to see our post-1975 veterans up front,” he said.
“You’ll find a large number of them. Their numbers last Anzac Day doubled in size.
“At one stage you’d see younger vets on the side of the road, wearing their medals, not taking part in the parade.
“They were probably reluctant to take part.
“But they’re stepping forward.
“Certainly the recognition is well deserved and they’re bringing the younger families.”
Mr Richards said about 600 people were expected to march.
“The older veterans from World War II and Vietnam are still a proud group of vets who insist that they march,” he said.
“But there’s a few now starting to put their hand up and are seeking some sort of transport to get along.
“It’s getting exciting as we walk to the centenary of the Anzacs to reflect back on Gallipoli and the Western Front.
“I’m sure a number of veterans will step forward and I like to think there will be some families involved as well.”
Mr Richards said plans had not been created for the Anzac centenary but said interest was growing.