I started working for my Caregiver company in November 2011. In one of the houses I work at is a former Malaysian served army vet (Last of the Jungle trained). Every year but one I have taken him down to his hometown of Shannon for the ANZAC Parade. He is wheelchair bound and we march at the head of the column with other vets, me pushing him.
Comments on the March Past.
Every year the small number of vets has diminished to such a stage that this year it was just him and I. Yes we felt alone. Yes we were proud to represent. Yes we acknowledge the importance of being there. However this raises a raft of issues.
Our war served vets are dying. Does this diminish the importance of ANZAC Day? Well if you look at a small town like Shannon one would assume yes. But that's not the case. In the parade this year we had the Pipe Band leading, followed by me and my client, then a squad of soldiers from Linton Camp (also providing the Catafalque guard and Rifle Salute) and then the big surprise. Those marching wearing their forebears medals or whanau of those that served, very young and very old, followed by the primary school platoon. It was also encouraging to see so many of the town out to witness this important event.
Yes it was a fine day. Yes it was the 100th anniversary. Importantly yes the event is growing in the psyche of all New Zealanders who are starting to gather recognition for those that served, died or returned home infirmed. And yes even those with no connection to serving members are being educated on the importance of these folks efforts through all wars and how that has impacted on our Nation Building Process. ANZAC Day is but once a year, but I feel folks are now aware that ANZAC Day represents in all our daily lives.
Lest we forget.