Anzac Heirs: Hometown commemorations

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Anzac Day in New Zealand has become a meld of 95-year-old tradition and new technology.

Poignant dawn parades will be held around the country on the morning of April 25 to commemorate the first landings at Gallipoli in 1915.

Online, at anzacpoppy.com, you can pick a virtual poppy, download the Last Post ringtone, leave your Anzac thoughts on the Wall of Remembrance, or watch a rock video of an Anzac song performed by New Zealand and Australian musicians.

In the traditional dawn parade, returned servicemen take a short march to local war memorials for an emotional service, which includes the reading of the Anzac Dedication. A lone bugler plays the Last Post before a minute's silence and the sounding of Reveille. Later, they have breakfast at their local RSAs.

One of the country's largest dawn services is at the Auckland War Memorial Museum at 6am.

This year, for the first time, Australians will join the service and raise their flag. And in another first, on the 60th
anniversary of the Korean War, Korean veterans are invited to march alongside their Kiwi counterparts.

The museum opens immediately after the service, and commemorations continue throughout the day, including a public service at 11am. No donations are asked for on this day.

This year there will be morning performances by the Auckland Youth Choir, and children can make their own poppies. People can bring their service medals and badges to be identified and photographed for the
museum's Cenotaph database, or take a free guided tour of the War Memorial galleries.

Most RSAs throughout the country hold citizens' services mid-morning, where returned and ex-service personnel, wearing their medals, march behind flags to the war memorial.

The national service will be held at the National War Memorial in Wellington, at 11am, where the guest of honour will be the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Anand Satyanand.

The New Zealand Defence Force provides a dawn-to-dusk vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior which contains the remains of a New Zealand soldier who died on the Western Front during World War I.

There will also be a concert with the memorial's carillon – the 50m tall musical instrument with 74 harmonic bells.

Some commemorations begin in the days leading up to Anzac Day.

Poppy Day – the 88-year-long tradition of handing out red poppies
symbolising resurrection and remembrance – is on Friday, April 23. More than $1 million is raised each year for the welfare of veterans and
ex-service people.

The Auckland Museum will show the rare cinefilm, Heroes of Gallipoli,
restored by Peter Jackson and projected on to the northern façade of the building. It will also project rare footage of the Pioneer Battalion being welcomed home from World War I by Ngati Whatua.

Find your nearest Anzac Day service at: www.rsa.org.nz


Send us your messages and memories of loved ones who have served in past wars or to people currently serving in the armed forces.

You can also post a message directly in the Auckland War Memorial Museum's official Book of Remembrance.

- NZ Herald

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