Wanganui Chronicle

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Much has been written and said in the lead-up to this year's Anzac commemorations.

On Monday, thousands of New Zealanders all across the country and around the world attended services to commemorate our 100th Anzac Day. It was on this day 100 years ago that the very first Anzac services were held in New Zealand to mark the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

Every year, we pause to pay our respects to those servicemen and women who fought and lost their lives in World War I and World War II, as well as in other conflicts around the world since.

We remember their incredible courage and bravery, as well as their unity, which helped to forge the Anzac bond and reputation that endures to this day.

In the Rangitikei, in particular, where we have a significant concentration of military bases and personnel, we also honour the men and women who continue to serve.

I hope you made it along to one of the many remembrance services that were held throughout the region on Monday. I was fortunate to be able to attend both the Feilding dawn parade as well as the commemorations in Halcombe.

I find it particularly reassuring that, despite the passing of the years, more and more people are showing their support at the many services throughout our region.

The number of young people who attend and participate is truly heartening - they are our future and the fact that they acknowledge and respect our past shows we are in good hands.

I was proud to see this year's Rangitikei Youth MP Ben Henderson share the stage with mayor Margaret Kouvalis and other dignitaries at Feilding's dawn parade.

It was indeed a special occasion in which we remembered those who served us so well.

Later in the morning I went to Halcombe, and I would like to thank the Community Development Group for their part in organising a wellattended and special event.

Sue and I were particularly taken by the way the group remembered and celebrated the part played by the many nurses involved in the war effort.

There was a very effective display of uniforms that kept them and their role top of mind during proceedings.

While almost every town and provincial city in the Rangitikei hosted an Anzac service of some kind on Monday morning, in the afternoon people enjoyed a sunny autumn afternoon and a day off.

Just out of Whanganui, at Lake Wiritoa, a group of keen athletes from throughout the region joined the annual Anzac relay competition.

This team event has been contested every Anzac Day for over 50 years and attracts participants from school students through to older athletes from all around the Central Districts region.

The Anzac spirit is certainly alive and well in the Rangitikei.

It goes without saying that we wouldn't be the country we are today without the sacrifice of our Anzacs.