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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Small but dedicated crowd remember fallen

Small but dedicated crowd remember fallen

The fallen are remembered around NZ

FAIRFAX MEDIA REPORTERS
Last updated 09:51 25/04/2011
 
 
Above: Lee Salter raises the flag at Sumner's red-stickered RSA building.
 
In a poignant Anzac Day service in Sumner wreaths were laid before the red-stickered RSA building for the last time.

Hundreds of residents gathered in the rain as the parade marched down Wakefield Ave to the RSA building, which lies amid boulders and rubble.

In the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February a cliff face collapsed in Sumner hurtling boulders into the streets below.

A large boulder crashed through the Sumner-Redcliffs RSA, destroying the building and threatening the future of the association.

RSA president Bev Salter said today's service was "sad and special".

"I have sat on the side of the road opposite the building and just cried and cried," she said.

Salter's car was parked at the RSA on February 22 and remains crushed beneath the rubble.

Members of the Sumner Surf Life Saving Club were invited to march alongside the war veterans, fire brigade and military for the first time, to honour their efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake.

A community project is in place to build a new RSA and Surf Life Saving Club in Sumner to keep the staunch organisations alive.

Dawn on Anzac Day was raw

The Christchurch earthquake made its mark on the annual Anzac day dawn parade this morning with only a small, dedicated crowd gathering in Hagley Park.

With Christ Church Cathedral still locked within the inner city cordon only about 2,500 residents went to the service which usually attracts more then 10,000.

Vietnam veteran and parade marshall Patrick Duggan has been attending the dawn parade at the cathedral for the past 24 years and said it was sad to break the tradition.

“It would have been great to have it at the cathedral, even just as it stands now, but we had to take safety into consideration.”

He said last year’s service drew a crowd of about 15,000 Cantabrians and it was disheartening to see only a small bunch gathered today.

“I just don’t think people want to leave their homes at the moment,” he said.

As he ordered the veteran’s to begin their march he joked: “what we lack for in quantity we make up for in quality.”

Mayor Bob Parker made a special reference to the change in location as he addressed the crowd.

“We seem to have spent an awful lot of time standing here gathered together in the recent months,[...] we are in a place we haven’t stood before as a service but we are in a place that has special poignancy in light of the recent events,” he said.

A cross made by the Australian Urban Search and Rescue team, from the timber of the Christ Church Cathedral, was manned by four military guards during the service.

Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand, Mayor Bob Parker and other officials paid tribute and lay wreaths at the base of the cross.

While thousands around the country attended bleak and wet dawn services to remember the war dead, in Feilding they also remembered four who had died in the last year.

All of them called Manawatu home.

Three of them, Ohakea airmen Flight  Lieutenant Hayden Madsen, Flying Officer Dan Gregory, and Corporal Benjamin Carson, died a year ago today while heading to Wellington for Anzac Day commemorations.

The Iroquois helicopter they were in crashed in farmland near Pukerua Bay.

Miraculously, the fourth man on board, Sergeant Stevin Creeggan, survived with severe injuries.

Iroquois helicopter crews from Ohakea's 3 Squadron flew past a number of services in Manawatu and Horowhenua today as a sign of respect.

Family members of Feilding soldier Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell, who died in combat last August in Afghanistan, were also on hand to pay their respects.

Around 4000 people attended a bleak and rain soaked Anzac Day Dawn Service this morning at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

A small band of veterans, heads bare to the rain, marched onto the Court of Honour in front of the Museum with a huddle of umbrellas watching on.

The remembrance, despite the difficult conditions, included very young children bundled up. 

The harsh conditions took their toll on the younger onlookers and ambulance crew dealt with a small procession of people who had passed out in the cold.

No one was seriously ill.

Students from a visiting Turkish high school played a role in planting a cross in the Field of Remembrance.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown read the Ode of Remembrance.

Last year's service saw both Australian and New Zealand national anthems sun while a new work, "Poppy and Pohutukawa" was performed.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force flypast was called off due to the poor weather.

In Wellington, a soft rain fell as The Last Post was played but the weather did not deter hundreds from turning out to a dawn service.

Ninety-six years since the The Gallipoli Campaign in World War One, there appears to be no chance of the 2721 New Zealanders who died there being forgotten.

The street around the Wellington Cenotaph was packed with young and old by 5.30am.

Turkish Ambassador to New Zealand Ali Yakital said even as we neared 100 years since the  Gallipoli Campaign no Turk, New Zealander or Australian could stand on the Gallipoli Peninsula without remembering the ''tragedy and the triumph'' that took place there.

''Every year we are looking back on our shared history,'' he told the crowd.

2015, which will mark a century since the campaign, would be a ''significant'' year for the three countries, he said.

In Palmerston North several hundred people gathered in The Square.

Veterans, their families and Defence Force personnel were surrounded by hundreds of others while The Last Post was played, flags were raised and guest speakers talked of the sacrifices the men and women of New Zealand and Australia had made for their countries.

Light rain fell during the first of two ceremonies in the city, with umbrellas and rain jackets and poppies prominent.

Rotorua reported on of its biggest Dawn Parades with around at Ohinemutu.

Guest speaker Lieutenant Colonel Graham Vercoe, a son of the celebrated late legendary Anglican Archbishop Whakahuihui (Hui) Vercoe, retraced steps had had taken on a tour of the battlefields at Gallipoli several years ago.

He found hiking through and over the famous battle fields at Gallipoli a sobering experience as the route took him on a circuit from the landing beach back to the parade ground.

He said he was privileged to be able to follow the paths on which New Zealand solders and Maori servicemen - who were placed into eight patrols according to tribal affiliation - had walked before him.

An illuminated plaque unveiled at Muruiki Cemetery at Ohinemutu last week, lit up six plaques featuring points of conflict at which New Zealand soldiers had served. 

Across the Waikato, RSA clubs reported strong attendance numbers, with crowds swelled by a large turnout of young people.

In Cambridge, 400 people crammed into the Town Hall while a further 200 sought cover outside as the town held only its second indoor service in 20 years.

Hamilton RSA president Len Knapp was pleased by the 5000-strong turnout of people who marched from Knox St to the cenotaph on Memorial Dr.

Despite the rain, Mr Knapp was heartened by the many young people who turned out to show their respects.

"I think everyone, no matter what their ages, knows of someone in the armed services. Today gives us all an opportunity to show them our respect. You get a great feeling when you see a large crowd like this gather."

In Morrinsville, more than 180 gathered at the RSA for a dawn service.

President Wally Pearce said the service was a timely reminder of the perils of war.

"Especially for young people I think today brings home to them that not everything in the world is as nice as it could be."

At Matamata, crowd numbers swelled to more than 400 while at Otorohanga about 150 gathered for a indoor dawn service.

In Nelson, more than 3000 young and old people gathered at an emotional ceremony at Anzac Park at dawn to remember those New Zealanders who gave their lives in war.

- Stuff

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