Get ready for ju­bi­lant roar­ing cho­rus noise

Weekend Herald - - Viewpoints -

At 11am to­mor­row we are urged to start a “roar­ing cho­rus” of cel­e­bra­tion mark­ing a cen­te­nary since the end of World War I. Two min­utes of si­lence may be fol­lowed by bells ring­ing, sirens sound­ing, drums bang­ing, cars toot­ing, loud mu­sic, “any­thing goes,” says the of­fi­cial New Zealand WW100 web­site.

His­tor­i­cal ac­counts dif­fer on whether any such cel­e­bra­tion erupted at the end of the war. Prob­a­bly the news brought dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions in dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties and in the hearts of dif­fer­ent peo­ple. But all would have been united in sheer re­lief. Un­til the fi­nal year of the war it must have been hard to see an end to it.

For more than three dread­ful years, Bri­tain and her do­min­ions had been send­ing their young men to face those of Ger­many and its al­lies in a muddy, bloody stale­mate. It was not un­til the last few months, when the United States had come in, that the dead­lock was bro­ken.

New Zealand, Aus­tralian and Cana­dian Di­vi­sions all had vic­to­ries to cel­e­brate as Ger­many was pushed back and fi­nally ac­cepted the armistice.

New Zealand marked one of its vic­to­ries, at Le Quesnoy, last Sun­day. It de­serves to be bet­ter re­mem­bered but it re­mains to be seen whether a vic­tory in that ter­ri­ble war has the same res­o­nance as Gal­lipoli and other brave fail­ures. To­day it seems well worth cel­e­brat­ing the end of the war. The cen­te­nary has done it jus­tice. So let’s start a roar­ing cho­rus that may con­tinue as clocks around the world pass 11am. Toot, shout, sing, cheer. For the fact that it fin­ished.

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