ANZAC Day, 25 April, is the anniversary of the landings that began the Australia and New Zealand Army Corp Gallipoli campaign in World War One.
This does not commemorate a victory or even the worst battle in terms of loss of life. More New Zealanders were lost in battles on the Western Front (including my great grandfather) but ANZAC Day has gained special significance. Initially a commemoration of the Gallipoli campaign it’s evolved to become the day when we honour all who served, both returned and dead, in all wars. The day has similar importance in Australia, New Zealand's partner in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli.
These numbers are staggering but a photo I took recently highlights the impact on one small community. Its a roll of honour on an old suspension bridge in Clifden, Southland.
From a tiny rural population 30 men went to war and only 24 returned. War Memorials like this can be found all over NZ, it makes you think, it makes you remember them….
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.