It’s been almost six years since Lance Corporal Luke Gavin was shot and killed on a tour of Afghanistan.
For the St Clair family he left behind – wife Jacky and kids Josh, Holly and Olivia – Anzac Day has become a bittersweet time of year.
Ms Gavin said Legacy, a charity that supports the families of fallen armed serviceman, has played a big role in restoring some normality in their lives.
“They pay for uniforms, school bags, laptops, excursions; anything that revolves around the kids developing and learning,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to afford half of that stuff otherwise. We do a lot of work with Legacy because they have done so much for us.”
On April 25 this year, the Gavins are honoured to lead the Legacy section of the Anzac Day march in the city. It will be the first time the family has marched in the state’s biggest commemoration for past and present armed serviceman.
“It’s pretty special,” Josh, 12, said. “They could have asked so many different people to do this. I think it’s pretty cool that we get to do this sort of stuff.”
Josh will walk in front of the families of fallen soldiers holding the Legacy flag, before he and Holly, 10, lay a wreath at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.
Youngest daughter Olivia, 6, will pin a sprig of rosemary on the jacket of NSW Governor David Hurley.
It’s pretty special. They could have asked so many different people to do this.Josh Gavin
Ms Gavin said it would be a special moment for the children, who lost their father in tragic circumstances.
“They were teaching the Afghan soldiers who were supposed to take over, and one just snapped,” he said.
“He came out with a machine gun and started shooting.”
Mr Gavin was among three Australian soldiers who died that day at Sorkh Bed on October 29, 2011. His eldest son said Legacy had put the family in touch with others going through the same experiences.
“It’s really good because you know you can relate to them,” Josh said. “Most people understand but sometimes there are people who ask so many questions and you don’t know how to answer them.”
But Josh said he mostly remembers the good times.
“I definitely think of the fun memories, like going to KFC with him when I was supposed to be having a sick day from school,” Josh said.
“I think he’d be pretty proud of us.”