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eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, New Zealand will join
nations around the world in commemorating the Armistice that brought an end to
the First World War in 1918. The Armistice itself is a document that was signed
by all the warring parties that marked a victory for the Allies, and a defeat
for Germany who then retreated their troops back onto German soil.
is a particularly important occasion, as it will mark 100 years since the
cannons fell silent; when the world stopped to rejoice on the peace that had
once again been restored, and also to reflect on the horror that had engulfed
so much of the world for the previous four years.
for many, it was a time to mourn those who had lost their lives: an estimated
16 million soldiers and civilians from over 30 nations were the casualties of
what was considered at the time to be the war to end all wars.
perhaps difficult now to comprehend the sheer weariness and disillusionment
felt about the war at the time; a sentiment surely experienced by all those
nations involved. And so, when news of the Armistice broke in New Zealand, our
country came to a standstill. There were celebrations and processions down the
street and people left their work, homes and schools to celebrate.
years on from Armistice Day, towns like Ashburton will come together to reflect
on the terrible impacts of the First World War. Although the generation who
lived through this time are largely no longer with us, we will remember those
whose names appear on war memorials and whose memory lives on down their family
lines. We’ll take a moment to consider the meaning of peace and what it brings
to our very way of life today. A kind of peace that was fought for by thousands
of brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
I will be
attending the Ashburton Returned and Services’ Association commemorations at
11.00am at the Cenotaph in Baring Square West on Sunday. There will also be
Armistice Day commemorations at the Mt Hutt Memorial Hall in Methven at that
time. Please join me on this important day in paying your respects and to