The Americans do memorials better than most, probably because as the world's policemen they have more to remember.

The expansive Arlington Cemetery, just across the Potomac River from Washington DC, is the most hallowed ground in the United States where the war dead going back to the Civil War are buried. It stands as a stark reminder of the futility of war, fought by young men and women following the stroke of a pen in the Oval Office.

And in New York in downtown Manhattan stands the impressive Memorial Plaza commemorating 9/11, dotted with almost 400 white oak trees where the daily crowds of mourners and tourists are drowned out by the crashing waterfalls, the largest man made falls in the United States.

The names of each of the almost 3000 people who perished in the Word Trade Centres in 2001 are honoured in bronze around the twin memorial pools. The birthday of everyone of them is remembered daily with a white rose placed on their name.


It's certainly a place where you reflect on the wasted lives and most of us remember exactly what we were doing when the terrorist hijacked jetliners struck.

Yesterday our nation paused just before one o'clock when many of us remembered what we were doing when the Christchurch earthquake struck on February 22nd, 2001.

I was walking along Wellington's Lambton Quay to get lunch when a friend phoned telling me Christchurch had been struck by another earthquake and I quipped that earthquakes were so last year. Little did I, or any of us know, that at that very moment 185 people were being killed, or were about to die, by collapsing buildings and falling masonry.

Ironically on the same day our offer on a Wellington high rise apartment was accepted and we've now twice seen the damage earthquakes in the south can cause to buildings in the north.

There are of course war memorials dotted all over our country where we remember the fallen every ANZAC Day and now we have the poignant Memorial Wall in Christchurch to remember those who perished during the devastating earthquake six years ago.

The 112 metre long wall with more than five hundred marble panels remembering those who died from 13 nations was unveiled yesterday and is a fitting reminder of the power of nature that none of us has any control over.