Today a group of Gap Year Students attended the Australian Memorial Dedication at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park with Kitty McKinley.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key and the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott attended with other special guests such as “Willie” Apiata VC, Members of Parliament and also Service men and women. The service started with the march on, of both the New Zealand and Australian Defence Forces, a moving beginning to the ceremony, followed by the welcome. John Key and Tony Abbott both spoke very well and gave their own meaning on the special friendship we share with Australia, as allies in war – mentioning that this friendship doesn’t always extend to the sports field!
The main message that we received from the two prime ministers is our countries are old friends. When push comes to shove, no matter what the score was in the rugby test the week before, we will always have each other’s back, no matter how much banter we throw at each other.
The memorial was beautiful, a fitting piece to remember the soldiers of Australia who also laid their lives on the line for us, the future generations. The ceremony then continued on with a blessing and a prayer to protect the memorial and officially open it. Overall the experience was amazing, it wasa privilege to stand side by side with our fellow Australians physically and spiritually to remember those who have gone before us.
“oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.”
We can say thank you to the fallen soldiers “For giving their tomorrow for our today”. With our hearts and arms open we hold the torch of light and justice for this world to be a better place. Gap Students 2015
After the Australian Memorial Dedication service we headed down to Te Papa and waited in line for over 45 minutes to explore the new exhibition called GALLIPOLI The Scale Of Our War. It was great that so many people are going to see this.
We did this to increase our understanding of what the ANZACs went through, and to develop an awareness of how we are the beneficiaries of their service and sacrifice 100 years later.
Inside the exhibition there were things such as models that are the size of two humans made at the Weta Caves. There were 6 models which all had a different part to play in the war, as we got to each model there was a recorder speaking their stories and experiences they had faced. There was an electronic diagram that reenacted what weapons had the most affect on their bodies and you could see what weapon was more powerful. We got a small sense of what war was like
And had lots of different feelings, thoughts and questions.
As we carried on through the exhibition we walked through a recreated trench, we could feel and hear the vibrations of the bombs and guns. There were also windows that had videos playing showing different soldiers experiences inside the trenches. These were our ancestors, family members…a lot to think about!
At the end there was another model of a solider who had survived the war. He was kneeling and had his hand on his heart. You were able to write a message on a red poppy and you were able to keep it or place it on the statue. This was very touching for all of us, as most of us have ancestors that took part in the war. This has got us thinking about how we would have reacted if we were forced or volunteered to go to war or to say goodbye to the people we love.
They gave up their today for our tomorrow.