ANZAC Day Service

ANZAC Day Service - Recent News - News and Events - Papakura High School

Kaitiaki whānau Te Aroha Neal presented her speech at the Papakura ANZAC Day Service Civil Ceremony, you can read this below.

Respect. Appreciation. Gratitude. Opportunity. Terms like these come up and are posted on social media by youth often. But, how many of us really, truly understand what these terms are on a day of remembrance like today? Today is when we all acknowledge our past, respect our soldiers, remember the opportunities that are given to us and to be grateful for our lives today. We acknowledge today in simple terms, ‘lest we forget’. But what else do we acknowledge today for? ANZAC day is commonly known as a public holiday, a day off school, a day off work, a day of freedom. However, there are more important lessons that the youth of today can learn from remembering the ANZAC soldiers.

Back in the 1900’s, every man and every woman's life was limited. They lived a life where if they grew up on the farm, they would most probably grow to be a farmer because that was one of few, if only, options they had. They didn’t have many opportunities to change their life. Where a woman would most likely be ‘stay at home mum’, someone who was only ever going to clean the house and look after the kids. A life that was limited from the moment they were born.

When the opportunity was thrown at the young men of Aotearoa to “travel the world”, to pursue an adventure that would potentially fill an emptiness inside of them, I can see why they would be intrigued and interested at such an opportunity. Walking by in the streets and seeing propaganda posters, selling lies, manipulating men into thinking that an opportunity to fight in a war was a way to see the world, when majority of those men would see death. Many were lead to believe that if they take this opportunity it would be the experience of a lifetime, when in reality for some, it would ruin it and cause such a ripple effect within their families and communities.

Due to such painful and gruesome circumstances that our ancestors had to endure, our generation has forgotten one of the most important values of a person, the heart of being grateful for what we have today. Some of our soldiers falling for the lies of the government but also our warriors who understood and looked through the lies and still joined a fight, they joined a war. Our generation forget the bravery of the soldiers, their sacrifice of their family and the everlasting thought of never returning home plaguing their mind as long as they were alive. We forget the lifestyle they endured for months at a time: living in trenches filled with dirt and grime, hanging out with their neighbours Mr and Mrs Rat, stealing food from their soldier friends. They endured days without food or they would live off stale bread, mouldy cheese and contaminated water. While that was during times of combat, we do not always understand the aftermath of the war. Surviving soldiers were able to come home, but many of them brought the effects of war home with them. Many men that were once outgoing and bubbly became affected by things such as PTSD, living with stress, nightmares, and slowly lost who they used to be. The youth of today forget these things because we ourselves have not had to endure this kind of life.

The pain that our soldiers lived with have lead us to our lives that we have today. We need to remember, cherish and acknowledge what has happened in our past so that we value the present. We need to remind our generation that the blood, sweat and tears shed from our warriors is the reason why we have what we have today. Our technology, our families, our freedom to choose what lives we want to live, freedom to take advantage of the many opportunities that are waiting to be upheld. We are the products of our past and we forget that our rich history has lead us to our lives today. Our ancestors rarely had opportunities during their time, especially during their time of grief and pain, whereas our time now is filled with so many opportunities to explore and discover; to reach our full potential. We have the privilege to live life to the fullest and to make everyday worth living.

Kia Rangatira; Be a leader; Strive to be the best. Use today and every other after this as an opportunity to be better. Take the time to appreciate that what surrounds us is because of lessons learnt from our past so we do not live such dull lives. Live life that is filled with experiences, but never forget the story of the past that leads us to where we are today. Acknowledge, appreciate and remember the story of ANZAC. Acknowledge our soldier warriors and make them proud of what has come of today, learn from the mistakes of the past and do different from what has happened. Show gratitude towards that period of time, and continue to use it as a learning path; to be more than what others think our generation can be. But until we fully realise, lest we forget.

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