Feilding - Rangitikei Herald

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Anzac Day is a day we New Zealanders must never forget. On this day we commemorate the landing of New Zealand and Australian troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 2015, during the First World War. The cove at which the Anzac's came ashore now bears their name.

A century ago this month the Government of the day announced a half-day holiday was to be established on the 25th of April and it would be known as Anzac Day.

Just as it is today, this was a way for our communities to come together and remember those who lost their lives; and to reflect on the scale of the impact war had on our population of just over one million.

2016 represents the second of four years of commemorations marking WWI. In September we will turn our attention to remembering the centenary of the horrific Battle of the Somme, where 6000 of our soldiers were wounded and 2000 were killed.

The contribution that New Zealand made in France during the First World War in 1916 will also be honoured overseas across all three of our armed services the Army, Navy and Air Force.

As time has passed, Anzac Day has come to symbolise not only a recognition of those who lost their lives at Gallipoli but a recognition of all our servicemen and women who have served and continue to serve in various conflicts and peacekeeping efforts across the globe.

I hope you made it along to one of the remembrance services held throughout the Rangitikei on Monday. I was fortunate to be able to attend both the Feilding Dawn Parade and also the service in Halcombe later in the morning. It is really great that the legacy of those who fought in the two World Wars and in subsequent conflicts continues to be honoured. It's also great that despite the passing of the years it's clear to me that more and more people are showing their support at the many services throughout our region. The number of young people in attendance is heartening. They are our future and the fact that they acknowledge and respect our past shows we are in good hands.

Of course Anzac Day is also an important time to contemplate the price of war and the continuing role of our armed forces in brokering peace. We owe a debt of gratitude to both those who have served our country and those who continue to do so to protect the ideals we hold dear. Lest we forget.