Saturday, April 25, 2015

Anzac Day

NOTE:   The following is an excerpt from a blog post by Susan Winters, one of the other missionaries who works in the Pacific Area Office and a good friend.

She did such a nice job of describing this day that I'm choosing to share her words rather than rephrase into my own.   Her blog can be found at

"Saturday, April 25th was a national Day of Remembrance in New Zealand.  It is called Anzac Day. 
 This year it was the 100th anniversary of the World War I battles and the landings on Gallipoli.  The holiday commemorates all New Zealanders who served and died in all wars.  Anzac day is New Zealand's Veterans day.  They honor those who have served in the wars, perhaps more than we do in in America.  All businesses were closed and they had many small parades in various locations.  There was a sunrise ceremony celebrating the 100 years at the Auckland War Memorial in downtown Auckland.  Everyone wore red poppies and laid them at the memorials.  Last week at church many who had served in the armed forces wore their medals.  There were a few members who had a whole row of medals.  It was quite impressive.  Today at Church we stood and had two minutes of silence in remembrance of those who died.  The closing hymn was the New Zealand National Anthem.  The song has lyrics in Maori and English.  We sang the first verse in Maori and then the remainder of the verses in English.  The title is "God Defend New Zealand".  They mentioned many times   "God defend our free land and to guard Pacific's triple star.  It is a beautiful song and very patriotic.  

On holidays all businesses shut down.  Saturday many businesses were closed all day.  A few opened at 1:00 pm.  Monday will be a holiday again.  The Area Office will be closed."
There were many thousands of participants at commemoration services all over the country.   Here are just a few photos showing services at different places from http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/272057/looking-back-on-anzac-day

In the United States we give lip service to Veteran's day.  For far too many, however, it seems to have become just another holiday to gather friends around the grill.  While there are parades and a few military presentations,  I've never felt the sense of deep reverence in the USA to commemorate the fallen as I have sensed here. 

From http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Sadly, if you ask most Americans today what November 11th is, they will not think of a day to end all wars or a time for honoring our fallen Veterans.   What sticks in their minds instead of Nov 11 is SEPTEMBER 11, a day that begun a most painful time in our history which still is claiming far too many lives.  

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