INDEPENDENT NEWS

Time For Remembrance And Reflection On Anzac Day

Published: Tue 23 Apr 2024 04:54 PM
Large gatherings are expected at Anzac Day services on Thursday as Hamiltonians honour our fallen and returned servicemen and women.
Anzac Day commemorations will start with a dawn service at the city’s Memorial Park Cenotaph at 6am. A civic service will be held at the cenotaph at 10am.
Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the landing of the ANZACs (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. Anzac services have evolved over the years to acknowledge New Zealand’s engagement in all conflicts and peacekeeping missions, from World War I to today.
Deputy Mayor Angela O’Leary, who will speak at the civic service, said it was heartening to see Anzac gatherings grow in size.
“Back when I first started attending Anzac services, everyone could easily fit into Memorial Park. Today, the gatherings are much larger and I think that’s a reflection on how important this day is to all of us.
“It’s vital that we never forget the sacrifice of our Anzacs and it makes me immensely proud to see all the young people that turn up to commemorate this very special day. It’s so important to pass the baton on to our youth to ensure the Anzac legacy lives on,” Deputy Mayor O’Leary said.
RSA Chaplain Lance Langley will be master of ceremonies for both services and large screens will be positioned at each end of Memorial Park so attendees can see and hear proceedings from multiple vantage points. The services will also be livestreamed on Council’s website hamilton.govt.nz/anzacday.
The dawn parade will depart from the corner of Victoria Street and Anzac Parade at 5.45am while the civic parade will assemble in Memorial Drive at 9.45am, adjacent to the park gate.
Air Commodore Shaun Sexton New Zealand Defence Force will be the guest speaker at this year’s civic service.
As with past Anzac Day commemorations, more than 5000 poppies will be installed on the corner of Memorial Drive and Anzac Parade. The Hamilton RSA will place 350 white crosses in Memorial Park in memory of Hamiltonians lost in conflict.
Among the servicemen and women expected to attend this year’s dawn service will be former NZ Army (Infantry Corps) Warrant Officer Class 1 Tony Wright and his wife, former NZ Army (Education Corps) Sergeant Aileen Tough.
The couple said Anzac Day was a time to pause and remember the sacrifice and service of many New Zealanders - and also a chance to catch up with old friends.
“To me it’s the four Rs,” Tough said.
“Respect, remembrance, reflections and reunions. It’s a chance to remember the fallen, to pay our respect to them and come together.”
This year, Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate will represent the city at Anzac Day services in Ieper – Hamilton’s friendship city in Belgium.
Mayor Southgate will convey Hamilton’s deep appreciation to the people of Ieper and Flanders who have tendered our fallen soldiers’ graves for more than 100 years. Ieper also holds a Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate each night.
Anzac Day road closures
A series of road closures around Memorial Park will be in place on Thursday 25 April. Roads will be closed from 5am to 1pm:Memorial Drive (from Anzac Parade to River Road)River Road (from Memorial Drive to Te Aroha Street)Anzac Parade (from Grey Street to Victoria Street)Victoria Street (from Knox Street to Anzac Parade)

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