I went, as I did last year, to the Dawn Parade, this isn’t something I ever did in England. I think it’s because the ceremony at the cenotaph took place in major cities only. Here in New Zealand every city and town has a Cenotaph: yes every one of them. I cycle past one regularly in a tiny little country hamlet close to where I live. This is a nation that is proud of their servicemen, and continue, all these years on, to show their appreciation, love and support in their masses, every Anzac Day. New Zealand comes to a standstill on Anzac Day, shops and businesses stay closed till 1pm.
Here in Invercargill, a small city in the Deep South, there was a record turnout this year for the 7am service. The Mayor said it was the biggest crowd he had seen in the 22 years he had been attending the parade. The age was varied from very young to very old. This is a nation that will never ever forget.
At one of the speeches today someone said that New Zealand lost 10% of its population in the Great War. Think for a moment. This was not their war, they were supporting their allies.
Haunting and poignant last words of one speech:
Let’s hope peace continues and their lives were not lost in vain
Too true. There’s so much unrest in the world at the moment that I sincerely hope this too.
Lest We Forget.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”