For those who do not know, ANZAC stands for 'Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.' Our young men and women, as part of our heritage, as colonies of the British Empire, answered the call to war, in support of the Commonwealth. Today we honour the sacrifice and loss of those young lives, spent to protect other people’s freedom, and to save the world from Tyranny.
Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the 1st campaign in World War I (WWI) that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces, when our men died on the beaches of Gallipoli in Turkey, 1915.
In WWII, New Zealand pilots flew over Britain in the greatest Aerial Battle of History, some of our boys were the best they had, Air Chief Marshal, Sir Keith Rodney Park, GCB, KBE, MC & Bar, a WWI flying ace and WWII Royal Air Force commander, was in operational command, in charge of Air Defence, the Germans called him "the Defender of London", he was a Kiwi.
Our men fought valiantly against General Rommel in North Africa facing the best the Germans had. The Maori Battalion forged an outstanding reputation on the battlefields of Greece, Crete, Northern Africa and Italy that would last for generations.
Our Anzacs have continued to serve in wars and peace keeping situations throughout the world, when called upon. Let us not forget their sacrifice and that of those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
The Anzacs and ANZAC Day united us in a way that made us look and find our identity as Kiwis. It united New Zealanders in loss and mourning. It united Maori and Pakeha in a way nothing else had as Maori joined with Pakeha serving in the New Zealand Expeditionary forces in WWI & WWII. Our ancestors were warriors, and pioneers who valued freedom above comfort and security. Who faced hardship and danger, that was displayed at Gallipoli and it gave Australians and New Zealanders, (Kiwis) a national identity we have been proud to live up too. Charles Bean wasn't wrong when he wrote of the ANZAC's
This year things will be a little different, we are all involved in a war - a war against HATE and the battle has now touched this country, in Christchurch. We will still come together and remember those on whose shoulders we stand, those who fought that we might be free to choose LOVE over HATE.
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.