Selfless Anzac spirit inspirational
Society’s problems must be fought with no less commitment and courage as demonstrated by our fallen soldiers, said Lieutenant Colonel Sir Harawira Gardiner at the Anzac Day service in central Porirua last week.
‘‘ What is the point of them dying if we have a lack of will to tackle challenging issues?’’
Lt-col Gardiner was the guest speaker at the civic service, held beside the Peace Memorial at Te Rauparaha Park.
Earlier, veterans and service organisations had marched down Hagley St towards the crowded park, led by the Trust Porirua City Brass Band.
Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett paid tribute to the men and women who left the comfort of home to face ‘‘grave horror, grave peril’’.
He pondered why so many young people attend Anzac services in a time of relative peace, and believed they were able to separate the brutality and heartache of war from the duty and actions of those who gave service.
‘‘We’re able to commemorate the action of real people, some of whom were from our city.’’
He said young people also like to think the courage and selflessness displayed by service men and women could exist within themselves.
Lt-col Gardiner said Anzac Day was about celebrating the ability of the New Zealand spirit to surmount all odds.
‘‘ANZAC Day is not a day to
Veterans led the parade to the Peace Memorial at Te Rauparaha Park, where a healthy crowd gathered for the city’s Anzac Day service. celebrate war. It is a time to celebrate the limitless capacity of the human spirit. It is time to acknowledge and celebrate ordinary men and women who did not hesitate to stand up to serve our country.’’
He noted the often forgotten contribution of Pacific Island soldiers in World War I and recalled the delight of Vietnam veterans when their contribution was finally recognised by Parliament in 2008. Lt-col Gardiner had served in South Vietnam with the New Zealand Army.
‘‘I am sad that many of our mates died not knowing that our country can still be grateful, even if belatedly, to those who serve it selflessly.’’
Today New Zealand is a land of bounty and opportunity, a firstworld nation, he said, but tensions exist, from healthcare to education and crime. Such challenges must be fought with no less energy and sacrifice as those who went to war.
‘‘Our weapons in this war of survival are the boundless stretches of our imaginations.’’
Strong turnout: Blue skies and heavy hearts were in abundance.
Words of wisdom: ‘‘The images of warfare are often brutal and savage and yet, at times, the imagery captures the soul of a nation and is a stark reminder of the waste of human lives,’’ said Lt-col Harawira Gardiner in his address.