A Hymn for Anzac Day

Shirley’s poignant, evocative contribution

Shirley Erena Murray

Shirley Erena Murray is a hymn writing legend. Twelve years ago she wrote a hymn for the day when New Zealanders and Australians remember those who served in wars gone by.

However, this was verse with a difference, emphasizing the horror and futility of conflict, and extending the remembrance to those who would not go to war, and suffered for their belief that peace was the only way forward.

Shirley, and her late husband John, were strong advocates of Peace Movement Aotearoa and promoted the wearing of the white poppy of peace.

(Scroll down to April 24 for the story about the hymn. You’ll find the words below.)



Honour the dead, our country’s fighting brave,

honour our children left in foreign grave,

where poppies blow and sorrow seeds her flowers,

honour the crosses marked forever ours.


Weep for the places ravaged with our blood,

weep for the young bones buried in the mud,

weep for the powers of violence and greed,

weep for the deals done in the name of need.


Honour the brave whose conscience was their call,

answered no bugle, went against the wall,

suffered in prisons of contempt and shame,

branded as cowards, in our country’s name.


Weep for the waste of all that might have been,

weep for the cost that war has made obscene,

weep for the homes that ache with human pain,

weep that we ever sanction war again.


Honour the dream for which our nation bled,

held now in trust to justify the dead,

honour their vision on this solemn day:

peace known in freedom,  peace the only way.


Music: © Colin Gibson 2005     ©  Shirley Erena Murray

Tune:  ANZAC                                      2005