Next Monday many of us will march.

We will march toward cenotaphs and on to marae here in Tauranga Moana as some of us will do the following Friday over in Hamilton.

Some will march in sadness and in silence and some wearing the medals of their fallen fathers and loved ones, who have passed on since the "war days" as we called them, growing up in a home with a father who was a veteran, a hero and a casualty of a world war.

We never really understood much about the war days, as Dad never talked about them and we never asked. It was an inconvenient truth or an elephant in the room that was too big to talk about.


It is only as we have grown up and understood the horrors of living in a war that we can begin to understand why Dad could never talk about it.

Was it shame as to what human beings are capable of doing to one another? I think there was a lot of that with my Dad, saddled up with a sense he was dealt a rough deck of cards where no one could win the game of war he was forced to play in.

Dad was one of life's good buggers. He was a peace-loving non-judgmental, nonviolent father who was forced to enact extreme violence against another human being whom he personally had no beef with, other than his commanding officer told him to kill him.

Barely a boy aged 17, it must have been a living nightmare, and kill them he did while getting shot in the shoulder himself. This unnatural act had a profound effect on my father who never ever recovered from what he experienced in "the war days".

So what can we - us who walk with freedom everyday, enjoying the fruits of life with an almost ignorant appreciation of what that cost - do to honour and remember their bravery?

We can march.

Marching is a passive protest to war and what it stands for, that being the raw face of greed and the injustices of the greedy who sit behind land and religion and make wars happen for nothing more than power.

Out at Te Puna we will march from the church to the hall and remember those who fought for our freedom, not just in the world wars, but the land wars in our own back yard that our ancestors fought for on our behalf. War knows no age or agenda, nor does it recognise regions or countries of the fallen and for what reason they fell.


War is bloody, and like the song said, "What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!"

So we march and we remember. Some march in silence and some to the songs of remembrance.

Maori Battalion marches to victory as did the Lord's army when we were kids.

Nelson Mandela marched on his long walk to freedom and so did Martin Luther King.

Back home Whina Cooper marched against injustice and many of us marched alongside Tariana Turia as did those who marched for the right for women to vote.

On May 1 we will cross the Kaimai Range and head to Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) to march for the rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia who are about to be forced off their lands for no other reason than they don't fit into modern society.

Yet for 40,000 years they have lived in harmony with nature and Tony Abbott refers to them as backwards.

Perhaps it is Mr Abbott and his Costello mates who take the title of Abbott & Costello; given in a short 300 years the environment and natural resources of their great country have been stripped by greed and corruption for which history will stand them alongside the people they took it from.

The beauty of being able to march side by side in communities up and down the country is it gives a personal perspective that sometimes the big gatherings do not open up the opportunity to do so, unless you are a direct descendant of a fallen warrior or fought in one yourself.

Like all losses in war there are always questions asked by the loved ones left behind.

I will leave the answer to these questions to one who walked the talk of injustice and freedom to fight for what you believe in.

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." Dr Martin Luther King.

Ko tahi aroha - Lest we forget.

-Tommy Wilson is a best-selling Tauranga author.