Editorial: Anzac Day ceremonies need to be pepped up

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Gareth Moore is angry that his wheelchair-bound grrandfather Allen Moore was not allowed to join other veterans at the Auckland Cenotaph on Anzac Day. Photo / Doug Sherring
Gareth Moore is angry that his wheelchair-bound grrandfather Allen Moore was not allowed to join other veterans at the Auckland Cenotaph on Anzac Day. Photo / Doug Sherring

The Auckland RSA deservedly took a barrage of criticism for its failure to include wheelchair-bound veterans in its dawn parade to the Auckland cenotaph. After several days under fire, its president, Graham Gibson, did the only decent thing. He made contact with Aucklander Gareth Moore who had spoken out about the refusal to include the wheelchair vets, one of them his 93-year-old grandfather, and gave his grandparents an apology in person.

Mr Gibson was able to assure them that not only would wheelchairs be included in next year's parade, they would lead it. How fitting. As the years pass and surviving World War II veterans are all in the nineties, it will be moving to see wheelchairs at the front of the silent march in the Domain.

The ceremony at the cenotaph has been criticised for other reasons, some finding it unduly religious, others lamenting the crowd's choral effort. It is the standard Anzac Day service at memorials around the country. But the Auckland RSA probably faces greater expectations than other branches. The Auckland and Wellington cenotaphs are the focus of national coverage and probably have the highest attendance. Their ceremonies could do with a lift.

It is surely within the means of the Defence Force to lend the RSA some professional assistance. The music should be uplifting, the addresses should be inspiring and a choir should be on hand to help everything sing. If the timing is right, dawn over Auckland will do the rest.

- NZ Herald

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