On the 11th day of the 11th month, four years of bloodshed, suffering and conflict ended.

Armistice Day acknowledged the World War I ceasefire in 1918 which ended more than four years of fighting.

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Now 101 years later, a modest crowd of about 40 people gathered to honour those who fought and died at the war.

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The Rotorua Returned and Services Association held the Armistice Day service today in the Government Gardens.

The service was a solemn occasion. Photo / Stephen Parker
The service was a solemn occasion. Photo / Stephen Parker

Reg Wellington, a 95-year-old former airman in World War II, had come to the Rotorua service every year for 51 years.

"I had a lot of good mates that didn't come back," he said.

Wellington's father fought in World War I and his great uncle was buried in Belgium. Growing up, the family would go to Anzac Day services.

The service was a solemn occasion.
The service was a solemn occasion.

Servicemen and women wore their uniforms and stood at attention as The Last Post sounded and the flag was raised before one minute of silence was observed at 11am.

The breeze was cool but held the flag as the crowd watched on.

Padre Tom Poata of St Faith's Anglican Church said nationwide numbers of attendance was dropping, which was likely due to life cycles and the aging veterans.

The sacrifice, pain and suffering of those who went to war and their families needed to be remembered, he said.

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Mayor Steve Chadwick and councillors Trevor Maxwell, Dave Donaldson and Reynold Macpherson were at the service.

Servicemen at the Armistice Day service.
Servicemen at the Armistice Day service.

Chadwick said being in a time of global insecurity made it all the more important to honour and remember those who gave up their lives to protect the country and for democracy.

The flag was again raised and a wreath was laid down by Chadwick.

The veterans walked to the post in twos, placing a poppy on the ground before placing their hand on their heart.

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