Grace MacCormick says that for the first time in its history, the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association (RNZRSA) and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) commemorated ANZAC Day services with a virtual Dawn Service.
Kiwis up and down the country woke early to stand at the end of driveways, front doors and gardens to remember our veterans and service personnel.
(Prime Minister at dawn on the driveway of Premier House with her father Ross Ardern – left, and partner Clarke Gayford. Photo: NZ Herald)
ANZAC Day is one of New Zealand’s most important national occasions.
However, the real meaning of what we are commemorating is often lost in the pomp and ceremony of public services.
Everyone is in this — Mayor Guru
Kāpiti District Mayor K Gurunathan says the significance of this year’s ANZAC Day is more apparent than ever.
“The pandemic has highlighted our national traits of connectedness, compassion, endurance and ingenuity.
“We are all making huge sacrifices, in a way most of us have never had to before,” Mayor Gurunathan says.
defence Minister Mark’s speech
Despite not being able to gather in a public service due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was still much Kiwis could do to commemorate the day according to Defence Minister Ron Mark.
In a broadcast address Mark encouraged Kiwis to “Pause, reflect, pay our respects and give thanks to those who gave so much not just 105 years ago at Gallipoli, or the six long years of the Second World War, but for every conflict and every operation which we have been involved with since then.
“We owe them that and it is a privilege to do so.”
“This Anzac Day look after each other, remember, commemorate and give thanks — but inside your bubble,” he said.
Stand at Dawn website
On the Stand at Dawn website, there were activities available that the whole family could do to make ANZAC Day special.
These included making your homemade poppies, decorating letterboxes with ANZAC themes, and researching family members who have served New Zealand.
(A photo of family remembrance, captured in my neighbourhood)
The MacCormick’s Day
On a personal note; as a family, we actually sat and talked about the meaning of the day which is something I cannot remember doing in a long time.
My grandfather, Kenneth MacCormick, served in two wars and it was a day that we could remember him as well as those who laid down their lives to serve our country.
Perhaps this alternate, and intensely personal way of celebrating ANZAC Day within our bubbles, will help us to appreciate and understand the real reason for the commemoration.