As you slept this morning, thousands of Kiwis and Australians have spent the pre-dawn hours shivering in their coats – an insignificant hardship as we remember brave servicemen of our countries who gave their all to help the Allied Forces in World War One and Two to protect our right to the freedom of slumbering safely in our beds.
|My great-uncle (once removed) who left for war under a false name and age. He survived the war but returned with injuries.|
Slowly in the darkness the crowd begins to thicken, take shape, many around weatherworn memorials thousands of miles away from their birthplaces. A lone speaker takes the podium, and begins to capture rapt attention with sombre words on this chill morning. It is ANZAC day, and we are here to remember.
Choice hymns are sung, anthems played with pride. Heartrending stories are shared, tales of bravery, sacrifice and courage in the face of blind danger. Small children, dressed in their smartest school uniform read beautiful poems of love, war and memory, their homes safe because brave young men lost their lives.
Then, as the sun begins to creep into the sky a lone soldier hauntingly begins to play The Last Post.
Quiet tears fall. The rest of the world slumbers.
If you happened to have to swung by Hyde Park around 5am you’ll be welcomed to stay and commemorate our great-grandfathers and grandmothers who gave so much. To give you an idea, the population of New Zealand in 1940 was about 1,600,000 and roughly 140,000 New Zealand men and women served, 104,000 in 2NZEF, the rest in the British or New Zealand naval or air forces. Roughly 30% of our national budget was given over wholly to the war effort and our country tried to help as much as possible.
We remember their hardships on the 25th of April, the day that many of our ANZAC troops were landed devastatingly on Gallipoli beaches, where thousands of young men didn’t return from.
“At dawn they landed on the beaches of Gallipoli, and at dawn we rise on the same day each year to pay our respects to Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have fought in conflicts globally. We rise for the Dawn Service because it is tradition, and the first glimpses of sun peering through the clouds helps to remind us that peace is always beautiful. Chloe Westley“