There will be a difference at Napier's Dawn Parade tomorrow. The day that marks New Zealand's terrible experience at Gallipoli (and New Zealand's coming of age) has for almost a century been characterised by bemedalled but thinning ranks of veterans from the The Great War, then from the Second World War, and from Korea and Vietnam.
recognising that Anzac Day means much more than the observance of an historical event (in this case, a military failure that cost us, proportionately, more men than any other combatant nation) a feature of Napier's Dawn Parade will be our youth. It is - as if such evidence were needed - a testament to the universality of the spirit of Anzac Day, which is no less relevant today than it was in those grief-stricken years that followed the First World War.
As New Zealand's day of remembrance it honours those who died and imposes on us the need to reflect on why they did so.
There's an enduring nobility that has transcended the horror and filth of the trenches to gives the sacrifice immediacy for the generations that have followed. While the experiences of those who fought there are, thankfully, unfathomable for most of us, the collective memory of those thrown into that dreadful crucible has survived to be vivid, timeless, and personal. We are drawn to such a memory because we prize those finer human qualities that have been cast into relief by the awfulness of Gallipoli; qualities such as courage and self-denial, self-respect and personal responsibility.
Every April 25, instinctively we stand and quietly reflect on the ideals that are as worth striving for as they were in 1914.
How can we reconcile, in the face of the heroic sacrifice we salute every year, the daily evidence of consuming self-interest? As we celebrate the virtue of our forebears, why do we fail to recognise the need for it, not just in ourselves, but in the cultures of our institutions?
Anzac Day doesn't glorify war. It quietly and bravely acknowledges that we are a product of our own past and that our future is what we are prepared to make of it ourselves, individually and collectively.