The 9-year-old son of a Kiwi soldier killed in Afghanistan was accompanied by war hero Willie Apiata as he laid a wreath at a new Australian Anzac memorial in Wellington.
Jaden Grant, the son of SAS soldier Corporal Douglas "Dougie" Grant, was a special guest at the dedication of the Australian Memorial at the Pukeahu National War Memorial today.
Corporal Grant died in Afghanistan in August 2011 when he was when trying to rescue civilians following an attack on the British Council building in Kabul.
Grant family friend and Victoria Cross recipient, Willie Apiata, accompanied Jaden and his sister Jemma, 11, and mother Tina at the dedication service.
Jaden, who goes to Dilworth School, and Jemma, from Strathallan school in Karaka, proudly donned a constellation of medals their dad had earned during his military service. They included medals from East Timor, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
"Dad's been to a lot of countries and done a lot of service in lots of different places," Mrs Grant said afterwards, her children beside her.
The family said every Anzac Day, they laid a wreath for the families of the fallen and also a wreath for Corporal Grant.
"These are the times when it actually comes back. You get a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye and you realise this is all happening because he's not here. And that's sad, that's really sad.
"And he can't see my beautiful children growing up and being amazing, like they are. They make me so proud."
She added, laughing: "They're just amazing kids, when they behave, eh?"
Mrs Grant wore a memorial cross, which she said was given to widows and mothers of soldiers killed in action.
Mr Apiata helped the children navigate their way through the formalities and many handshakes and greetings exchanged with dignitaries.
"Willie and I, we're good friends, so we just stick together," Mrs Grant said.
"We're partners in crime, aren't we?" she said to the kids. "He's a good dad. He's got awesome little boys and he looks after you, doesn't he?"
The flowers in the wreath Jaden laid were gerberas, just like those used at Tina and Dougie's wedding.
Gerberas also adorned the wedding of Victoria Hopkins and her late husband, Corporal Mathew "Hoppy" Hopkins.
Mr Hopkins was born in Christchurch in 1987 but soon after moved to Australia. He served with the 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and was killed in March 2009 while on patrol near Kakarak, some 350km west of Kabul.
He married Victoria five weeks before his death and their son Alex was born the day after the Hopkins' wedding.
Alex, 6, laid a posy of red, white and pink roses at the memorial, in memory of the final bouquet Corporal Hopkins sent his wife.
"To be here, in his country of birth, is a really special feeling," Mrs Hopkins said after the ceremony.
She said a day like today enabled everyone to remember Corporal Hopkins and other veterans.
"We do these mostly for my son, so as he grows up he can see that people won't ever forget his dad," she said. "I will always remember Matt in my own special way."
She said it was important to spend time with other families who lost loved ones in war.
"It's very nice to be with the other widows because we all understand how the other feels, and especially for the kids, they need each other as well for support."
The Hopkins had travelled from the Hunter Valley, where they live near the school of infantry where Corporal Hopkins trained.
Alex and Victoria will travel to Sydney to attend a dawn service at Martin Place on Anzac Day. Alex will take part in a march that day.
"He's still getting used to the idea of all the seriousness," Mrs Hopkins said.
The Australian memorial was created as part of the new Pukeahu National War Memorial. The $5 million project was funded by the Australian Government and is a reciprocal gesture to the NZ Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key spoke at today's dedication ceremony.