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ANZAC Service

May 05, 2017 at 10:22 AM

‘In the quietness of this time,
we remember the sounds of the battlefield,
the despair of defeat,
the deprivations of captivity.
We remember those who paid the supreme sacrifice,
all who lie buried in distant lands.’

The impact of war, and especially the First World War, on New Zealand as a nation, has been great. It has fashioned our nationhood and is embedded in our history and culture. Sacrifice has always been a central theme to ANZAC services around the country as we recall those who served in the many theatres of war over the last century. With reverence, we acknowledge the debt we owe to the many who fought, were wounded and, for a very significant number, failed to return to the shores of our country.

Every year since 1916, dawn services have been held on 25 April as a mark of respect for the fallen soldiers of World War 1 in particular. Marking the time of the initial landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, dawn holds the symbolism of darkness making way for the light of a new day. These services do not serve to glorify war but to honour the memory of those who, in time of war, faithfully served their country, many sadly paying the ultimate price.

Early this morning, as the sun began to rise over the Boys’ School, an estimated 1500 members of our Boys’, Girls’ and Preschool communities joined in remembrance for the fallen.  In the early morning light, the Boys’ School Pipe Band played prior to principal pipers, Nicholas Berry and Nicholas Forgie, piping the official party to the field. Representative students and staff from each of the Schools and the Preschool, along with Chairman of the Trust Board, Dr Bruce Goodfellow, fellow Trust Board member, Mrs Rosemary Harris and the newly appointed Head of Saint Kentigern, Mr David Hodge, took their places under flood lights.

Before Reverend Reuben Hardie made the call to worship, Boys’ School Principal, Mr Peter Cassie recalled the dark days on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, when 2779 New Zealanders were killed (5 x the number of students at our School) and 4852 wounded during a bitter eight and a half months struggle which failed to achieve any military objectives. Girls’ School Principal, Ms Juliet Small, followed, reading an ANZAC prayer that remembered the ‘ordinary’ New Zealanders, especially those from the Auckland region who lost their lives. 

Students from each of the schools had a part to play in the service with Boys’ School Head Prefects, Archie Nightingale and George Beca each taking a reading. George highlighted the misery of the Gallipoli trenches, reading Corporal George L. Smith’s first-hand experience of life in a cramped dug-out. Girls’ School Head Girl, Lola Wiltshire read the evocative Western Front poem, ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row’ before Lily Kate Umaga and Sharmaine Tapling bravely sang the first verse of the congregational hymn, ‘Abide with me.’

Four wreaths were laid - one by Mrs Sue Nash, Director of the Preschool along with preschoolers Lola Leport-Symonds and Sid Naiker; one by Ms Juliet Small with Head Girl Lola Wiltshire; one by Mr Peter Cassie and Head Boy, George Beca; and the fourth was laid by Dr Bruce Goodfellow, Mrs Rosemary Harris and Mr David Hodge on behalf of the wider Saint Kentigern Community, both past and present.

Year 3 Student Will Mcleod was called on to deliver Binyon’s well- known poem, ‘For the Fallen.’ 

‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. We will remember them.’

The service concluded with the ‘Last Post’ played by Oscar Van Druten followed by silence as we remembered the fallen.

 

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