Surreal, moving, thoughtful some of the feelings about the Dawn Service. We drove to Glisy which is a suburb on the outskirts of Amiens just after midday to wait for the shuttle bus that would take us to the site. All vehicles and buses were banned from the site and the first shuttle bus left 11:45 pm on the eve of the 25th. There were a few camping cars as they are called in France, some Aussies and a couple of Brits so we had dinner and then lined up to go through security screening before hopping on our shuttle. We arrived at the service just after midnight with the intention that we could catch a shut eye in our seats. The walk up the hill set the scene for what was to come, blue light strips either side of the gravestones leading up to the seating area with the tower outlined in red, purely silent, no one spoke everyone with their own thoughts. We were lucky enough, thanks to Brett hurrying ahead to find a seat in the second row front on the aisle and settled in for the long haul. We had some coffee and croisannt and opened our packs to find a lovely welcoming warm beanie and a badge that will be forever keepsakes. Not long after the mc announced the proceedings for the event and at 2:00 am the screens showed scenes from WW1 and ran a short film about how back home the postman that delivered the telegrams to families dealt with each telegram he had to deliver particularly in a small rural town where he knew everyone and everyone knew him. Before we realised the digitaries started to arrive, Tony Abbott arrived a good hour to hour and one half before which was very decent in light of the weather. It was fairly cold particularly for us but not as cold as it could have been. Then just before the start time Malcolm Turnbull arrived along with Prince Charles, I was sitting on the aisle and there was no indication that they had arrived but I just happened to look around and within 3 feet was Prince Charles right beside me. Once all the dignitaries were seated the service began, the usual choir singing, the Australian Army Band played and the singer was awesome, then the national anthems from both Australia and France and she really belted both of them out. The French anthem was particularly good with a few frenchman singing along at the top of their voice, wonderful to hear and witness. The speaches began with the Head of the Australian War Commission first then Malcolm Turnbull who obviously had no idea of the programme as his speak was in a similar vein to the first one, a bit lack lustre and not particularly entralling at all. Then Prince Charles who seemed to be doing his bit another day another duty. Then the French President spoke and wow so thought provoking, inclusive to all nations and so moving….If I were French I would definately vote yes, I will try to put a link to his speech in case you feel you would like to listen (do yourself a favour). Once the wreaths were laid the family wreaths began to gather and the rain came, the temperature dropped and the wind whipped up and it was freezing. We all grabbed our supplied ponchos and tried to sit still for the family wreaths, however due to the number it soon became unbearable and so everyone just went forward laid their wreaths and tried to leave (note for future, limit the number of private wreaths to be laid). Leaving was a fiasco, we were in the first 500-1000 people to get to the bus line and we were told to line up and move in a semi circular formation towards the buses, however as the numbers increased the semi circle was not monitored and people simply walked down and joined the line at the bus end rather than the line end. What could have been a simple organisational structure became unruly and unmanagable. It took us two and one half hours to reach the bus and to say it was frustrating was an understatment considering we have been awake for one and a half days. However the day was worth it and was definately a life changing event that we are glad that we were fortunate enough to attend.