Hundreds of people turned out in Raglan on Saturday to honour the 100-year anniversary of the ANZACs first landing at Gallipoli, Turkey during World War I.
The special ANZAC ceremony began with a parade to the Raglan war memorial in Bow Street led by local veterans, followed by members of the 161 Battery and local police, fire and coastguard services.
Kathleen Gavin, a minister at Raglan’s Anglican Church, and kaumatua Sean Ellison led the service, which marked the April 25, 1915 Allied Forces’ landing at Gallipoli that resulted in heavy casualties for New Zealanders and Australians, as well as the French, British and Indian soldiers fighting alongside them.
Kathleen Gavin said ANZAC Day was a time to remember the soldiers’ bravery and sacrifice, as well as those who returned emotionally, physically and spiritually traumatised.
“May their sacrifice never be forgotten and may we continue to cherish the freedom they fought for,” she said.
Sean Ellison said it was good to see so many young people coming to commemorate ANZAC Day.
“It’s important that they learn about the past so they can equip themselves for the future,” he said.
Raglan Area School head girl Rylee King talked about her family’s own experience with war through her grandfather, who had served in Malaya during the 1950s.
RAS head boy Rhys Daysh remembered former RAS students who had gone to war, and said young people did not know the reality of war these days, only what they saw on movies.
Master of Ceremonies Colin Hodkinson, president of the Raglan Returned Services’ Association, said the organisation was proud that all the money collected through the sale of poppies was used for the welfare of soldiers and their communities.
More than 30 different local organisations, schools and individuals laid wreaths at the war memorial, with crosses alongside to mark the local soldiers who had fallen.
The New Zealand flag was lowered to half-mast while the Last Post bugle call rang out, then the RSA ode was read before the flag was raised once more.
The day ended with veterans, guests and those who took part in the parade moving to the Raglan Club for refreshments, entertainment and spending time with old friends, Colin said.
He said the ANZAC Day meant so many different things to different people.
More young people were involved in the commemoration now too, possibly because of the recency of conflicts New Zealanders were involved in, such as Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War, with a frequency of causalities being noted.
“It’s all right there in your face,” he said. “And I think there’s a great abhorrence, especially in New Zealand, of war.”
Images thanks to Leanne Roughton.