This was written earlier in the year for a local newsletter, reflecting on the value of ANZAC day celebrations in our country. Enjoy.
What do you know about the history of our area, our country, our world? Are you aware of the ways in which those who went before us have shaped what we have and who we are today?
Anzac Day is one of those times where New Zealanders take time as a nation to reflect on our history. While it is always moving to witness our returned servicemen and women leading an annual parade, it is equally touching to see them standing shoulder to shoulder with our children. Anzac Day is an opportunity to share our nations’ history with our tamariki, giving them a chance to learn about the sacrifices that were made, to understand that lives were lost and changed forever to grant them a future.
Attending the local Anzac Day service is something that I have enjoyed doing since I was a child myself. I recall being moved by the haunting tones of the Last Post, and the soothing voice of Vera Lynn. I was always in awe of the returned servicemen, towering over me in their pristine suits, medals proudly pinned to their chests, and still able to march perfectly together after so much time had passed. While I didn’t have an extensive knowledge of the history that we were commemorating, I knew that Anzac Day was special, a day to remember wars hard fought and futures won.
Returning to my home town as an adult, and attending Anzac Day services as a member of the school is something that gives me an immense sense of pride in our community, and how well we are connected to our roots. For me, it was an honour not just to stand with our servicemen and women, but also to stand with our children, because they are our future. Our children listened to the words that were shared with us that day about our community’s connection to Gallipoli, they stood before a packed Volunteers Hall at the museum to lead the national anthem, and laid a wreath on behalf of our school community. They seized the opportunity to learn about the past that gave them a future, and participate in its commemoration. As long as we remember to give our children the opportunity to share in this history and understand it, then the lives that were lost and changed forever will never be forgotten, no matter how much time passes.
We will remember them. Always.
Natalie Lynch 2014