MARK Murray is a soldier for life.
The grandson of a First World War veteran, the Lismore grandfather joined the Army Reserves 39 years ago.
He's not about to hand in his uniform.
"I was a boy soldier, I was living the dream and I was at school and the recruiters came around and said there's a chance to have an adventure," Major Murray said.
"I thought 'Yeah, this sounds alright for me' and we got paid as well."
Major Murray juggled his Reserves commitments with gaining a teaching degree and raising five children with his wife Lesley.
Over the years he has helped train hundreds of young recruits and has been to parts of Australia most of us only dream of visiting.
"One of the highlights is seeing the younger people come through and helping train them," the 41st Battalion Royal New South Wales Regiment Army Reserve infantryman, said.
"I've worked for various units - I helped train officers through the university regiments and that was probably a real highlight to see these people come in and go on to become very senior officers later on in their careers."
In 2006 the Richmond River High School legal and business studies teacher commanded the guard of his regiment's soldiers at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the closing ceremony at the Pool of Remembrance.
On Anzac Day, Major Murray will join his soldiers at Lismore's war memorial for the Dawn Service and the 10.30am commemoration and march.
"Anzac Day was the iconic time in our history, that nation-building time, where we've come to realise the sacrifices that people make endure for a long time," he said.
"When you look at the crowds that come back to the commemorations each year, it's just getting bigger and bigger."
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