So this morning I dragged myself out of bed at 5.20, and went to the dawn service here in Wellington.
ANZAC Day – for you non-New Zealanders/ non-Australians – is kind of a big deal for us. It’s on the 25th April every year in both Australia and New Zealand, and it remembers the soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (or the ANZACs) who fought in Gallipoli, Turkey, during World War One.
Our involvement in WWI is kind of a big deal for us, because it was a forging of ties for us here in NZ with those in Australia – the fact that both countries still hold national remembrance days for it on the 25th April kind of stands testament to that. It was also seen as New Zealand stepping up and taking its place in the Federal Commonwealth – kind of a big thing for our small, reluctant Dominion Status country.
The ANZAC legend has an impact on us New Zealanders… It has this indelible place in our National Identity.
Following WWII ANZAC Day has become a day of remembrance for all New Zealanders who have been lost to war. And for a small country there certainly were a lot of young men lost to war.
War is horrific. It has awful consequences. I personally don’t agree with commemorating war, but I do think that it is important to remember the lives lost. I think the men and boys who fell to war have earned the right to be remembered with honor by us New Zealanders.
There’s this bit in the dawn ceremony, where you’re standing pressed into in a crowd of people, every single one of them silent. And as the sky lightens just enough for you to see the profiles of the people around you these words surround you:
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
we will remember them.”