Organiser Gordon Strachan said he was very pleased at the great turnout for the ANZAC ceremonies at Paraparaumu.
“Anzac services are very well attended and the numbers are growing each year. It is very pleasing to see so many young people attend.”
The Citizens Parade fell in at 9.20am with many Service groups, Youth groups, Military, Police, Fire Service, RSA members and hundreds of members of the public assembling.
The formal address was delivered by Wing Commander David Green who began by informing the crowd of the tragic death of the military personnel in a crash that had happened within the hour at Pukerua Bay.
As would be the case in other ceremonies throughout the district this Anzac Day, this tragedy brought home the realities of military life.
In a moving and poignant speech Wing Cmdr Green said Anzac Day is a day of remembrance.
“A day of reflection. A day where we as a people stand together and honour the sacrifices of those who went before us. We honour those whose lives were lost and we honour those who bear the scars of conflict throughout their lives, in order to preserve our way of life, our ideals, our nation. At the same time, we hold dear in our thoughts those men and women who stand in foreign lands today, ordinary folk, doing heroes work in the name of peace and security.”
He spoke of the ingloriousness of war, of its brutality and reality.
“We must not forget our people,” he said. “The young men who fought at Gallipoli 95 years ago were just like us. They were from families and communities just like ours. They were sons and husbands and fathers and brothers, just like ours. They enjoyed sport and they liked having fun, they responded to good leadership. They resented imposed authority. They responded to the fear and confusion of battle with comradeship and out of the terror or war they helped to build our sense of nationalism. We know ourselves as New Zealanders today partly because of the sacrifice of the young and brave New Zealanders of 1915.
“Over 100,000 New Zealand men and women served overseas in the First World War.
Over 18,000 died. There is nothing glorious about that.”
Wing Commander Green personally acknowledged and thanked the returned servicemen and women here today. “You have given this nation every reason to be grateful, and you have given me as a serving member of the New Zealand Defence Force, a legacy of which I am truly proud.
“It is the young men and women of our nation who inherit the responsibility for our future. The young men and women whose lives were taken in conflicts past are speaking to you today.”
A Full transcript of Wing Commander Green’s address is available below.