Armistice Day 11th November 2022
“…we saw field hospitals and men dying: while they preached the service of state as the greatest thing, we already knew that the fear of death is even greater”.
Nothing new on the Western Front (All quiet on the Western Front). Erich Maria Remarque
These opening lines are drawn from a novel written by a German authour post WWI. The ‘we’ he is referencing is his fellow German soldiers. It is a comment that resonates with every soldier/sailor/airman who has served in a theatre of war or conflict or peace keeping where the threat of death is a daily companion.
What this statement misses is that many people who serve are denied the privilege and the reality of that fear. From the end of WWII until now over 100,000 people, men, and women, have served NZ without being deployed into an operational zone. Their service is equally important to NZ as it allows the country to respond quickly to requests for support around the world, from natural disasters to assistance with aid.
In many nations around the world the 11th of November is Remembrance Day, a day when all who have served are remembered, some even refer to it as Veterans Day. It is a day when poppies are purchased in memory of those who have served and passed away, either in or since their service. Had it not been for the late delivery of silk poppies from France in 1921 we would be making poppies available today for donations to support former servicemen and women whose needs fall outside that provided by Veterans Affairs.
The signing of the Armistice on this day in 1918 was supposed to end ‘The war to end all wars.’ History has shown us that is not the case and any media accessed today will show that war exists in many parts of the world, the most prominent being the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. NZ troops are today serving their country today in the UK by training Ukrainian troops in the arts of war. Those 60 people are your current commitment to world peace. Ngati Tumatauenga is the NZ Army’s tribe of war, but the atua is also the god of more peaceful pursuits such as hunting, fishing, cooking and ground cultivation. In these uncertain times let us focus on these more peaceful aspects of Tu.
Let us all be advocates for peace.
We Will Remember Them