Commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Armistice ending the Great War, Auckland erected 18,277 crosses, representing the nearly 2% of the NZ population killed. Another 40,000+ wounded. Unspeakable… and yet obviously not unspeakable since we did it again just 21 years later. We went the night before to see the sad light show and solemn movie projected on the War Memorial building.
We attended the memorial service, in a drizzly rain (“our ancestors tears”), and it was beautiful and wrenching. The speech given by a high school student was truly remarkable… were we listening to a future Prime Minister? During the flag ceremony they played a bugle that had actually led charges at Gallipoli and Le Quesnoy.
And so many old soldiers, who are the same everywhere… these guys could just as easily have been in Albuquerque as Auckland. In watching them interact you could tell that the chain of command was still respected, even if they never actually served together.
We were sad for the historic airplanes, grounded due to weather… there will literally never be as significant a day for them to have done a flyby, ever.
After a solemn moment of silence, all of NZ was joined together in a “roaring chorus.” Church bells pealed, emergency sirens sounded, bands and choirs let loose, horns honked, and people just shouted and cheered. It’s hard for me to imagine how it must have felt to know the war was over.
Glad to have been able to join this event in remembrance and respect for all the current and former military members.