Having returned from major surgery only a day before, John Anderson still managed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow veterans at Monday's Remembrance Day ceremony.
"It's very important to be here, I wouldn't miss it," Mr Anderson said.
Signing up for duty when he was 32 years old, Mr Anderson spent nearly 24 years in the defence force.
Serving with the Australia Royal Air Force in Malaysia, he saw active duty abroad from 1986 until 1988.
"I was in it for 23-and-a-half years, and I never regretted it for one second," he said.
The decision to join the armed forces came on a whim when a mate from Brisbane contacted Mr Anderson and said quite simply, "let's join up, how about it?"
"There was never really any question to it. Both my grandfathers served in the First and Second World Wars, and my dad also served [on the homefront] when he was in Glen Davis [NSW] during the Second," Mr Anderson said.
"There's history, there's family history in service."
Relocating to Malaysia during his tour of duty meant uprooting his family from their comfortable life in Wagga. Daughter Kylie Anderson, who was then still a teenager, recalls it was a blessing disguised by hardship.
"At first I really didn't want to go, I didn't want to leave [Wagga] and go to this other country. I was maybe 14 or 15 when we were living over there, it was a lot to take in," Ms Anderson said.
"But it ended up being the best experience, the RAAF became like family and I've never forgotten just how lucky I am to live in this country [Australia]. Living there at that time made me see that."
Recognising the importance of the armed forces to their family, both father and daughter now volunteer in the aid of returned servicemen.
"It's very important now to have that support. It's comradeship, whether you're in the army, navy or air force, it's all the same," Mr Anderson said.
"We're all here for each other, and that's what's so important now for the young people.
"Especially for those who are coming back from Afghanistan [and current war zones], what they've been through is horrendous. The environment they're in, to tell you the truth, I'd hate it.
"They need the support, we need to get them talking, and we can when they're by themselves, but we talk about other stuff, not just the war."
A member of the sub-branch in Wagga, Mr Anderson said the role of local RSLs has shifted in recent years to include holistic care beyond the immediate return from duty.
The involvement of the local branch was paramount to his quick recovery from surgery at the weekend, said his daughter.
"They're his family as much as I am, and it's good to know that if I'm not around, they are there for him," Ms Anderson said.
"When Dad was in hospital, I just had to text one of them and they all gave him support.
"They all came through for him, they've stuck by him and these are mates he's only met through the sub-branch, he hasn't served with them. It doesn't matter. They're all in it together."