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Anzac Day plans taking shape

PHOTO/FILE

Soldiers deserve moment of silence

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

For the first time in 104 years, there is a chance that the Tinui Anzac Day commemoration won’t go ahead in any form.

But Tinui Parish Anzac Trust president Alan Emerson is working on a plan to do something at Tinui to broadcast on Twitter.

At covid-19 Level 2, all RSA services were cancelled out of concern for the well-being of ageing veterans.

The Tinui trust runs independently of the RSA so is not precluded from holding a commemoration ceremony [within covid-19 rules], but Emerson, as a member of the RSA, says he is engaging with them about his ideas.

The Tinui ceremony is thought to have been the first Anzac service in the world – first held a year after the Anzac troops landed in Gallipoli in 1915.

Both the Masterton and Featherston RSA presidents endorse the ‘#standatdawn’ message from RSA headquarters which asks people to stand at their letterbox, at the front door, or in their driveway at 6am on Anzac Day to “remember our fallen”.

Masterton club president Trevor Thompson said he was “very keen” for people to commemorate those who had died in the service of the New Zealand military.

The day was an important social event for club members and this would be missed, but he said the battle against covid-19 was one battle that “won’t beat us”, he said.

Featherston president Peter Jackson said it was extraneous times, but if people could take a moment at any time on April 25 to acknowledge passed servicemen, that would be good.

“Not everyone can get up at 6am and stand at their gate – if they do, that is great but another time of the day would be good too,” Jackson said.

The RSA has picked the time of 6am for the ‘stand at dawn’ but Featherston usually has a parade, speeches, wreath laying, and the Last Post army bugle call followed by a service in the Anzac Hall.

None of this will occur this Anzac Day.

“These soldiers deserve a moment of silence, but we need to be flexible about what this looks like this year, it is a time for personal reflection,” Jackson said.

The oldest member of the Featherston club is 89-year-old Korean War [June 1950-July 1953] veteran Gordon McIntyre.

He was less concerned about the parade than he was about people not understanding and appreciating what the wars kiwi men fought in and died in were for.

McIntyre was in the First Commonwealth Division with Canada, Australia and Britain.

He is a veteran of The Battle of Kapyong which was fought from April 22 to April 25 in 1951.

“We stopped the communist army that was 40km outside of Seoul from taking the city,” McIntyre said.

“People should know that if South Korea had gone to that government, this Pacific nation would look very different than it does today.

“When I see the yahoos and yobs today carrying on and flouting the law, I get annoyed because they just don’t understand how much freedom we actually have and it should be respected.”

He likes to remember his mates in the New Zealand regiment and said this type of relationship was irreplaceable.

“The comradeship, loyalty, trust, and fellowship we experienced can’t be replaced.

“That faithfulness between us supporting each other is unique.”

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