SERGEANT Adam Hankey doesn't mind admitting Anzac Day leaves him emotional and pondering his good fortune to be here while so many of his mates are not.
The Brisbane-based sergeant has been in the Defence Force for 25 years and although he has] not seen too many horrors during that time, he has many friends who have- and have paid with their lives for it.
"It is a hard day to get through, very emotional," he said.
"Some of the guys who I served with lost their lives. They were young. It was very difficult to attend their memorial services, to see their families grieving."
Sgt Hankey joined in the Defence Force as a 17-year-old and says it was difficult to get used to the army discipline in the beginning.
"It toughens you up," he said.
"It gets you ready. The first three months were hard, especially being straight out of home but once I settled down I got into the army life."
A three-month deployment to Timor working with the logistic team looking after headquarters was the first taste of overseas work for Sgt Hankey, then it was back home to Brisbane until another deployment in Timor.
After retiring from the army in 2009 Sgt Hankey found life "on the outside" not much to his liking. "It was a lot harder on the outside than I thought it would be," he said.
"I maintained a connection with the army as a reservist. I knew the army lifestyle, I missed the camaraderie and made a decision to get back in."
A posting to Iraq came next.
"I spent seven months in Iraqi. It wasn't too bad. It was my first time in there and it took us a while to get our feet on the ground. We were training the Iraqis," he said.
"We were secure, inside a compound in an army base. We had no issues.
"Our guys were pretty good as trainers."
Hankey counts himself fortunate that even though he has a 25-year army career he has not been confronted with any real danger.
His wife and two adult daughters have always worked around his army career.
"It was hard sometimes on all of us," he said.
"I think I'll do another 10 years in the army."