Waitaki Herald : August 13th 2014
NEWS WAITAKI HERALD, AUGUST 13, 2014 The day we changed forever ‘‘W By NICOLA WOLFE e can’t change history but we can learn from it.’’ The words echoed by Oamaru parish Catholic priest Father Wayne Healey were a stirring reminder to those gathered at the War World I memorial last week that life does, indeed, go on. On August 5, 1914 the New Zealand government made an announcement that would shake the country. Britain was at war with Germany and we as a country would go to her aide. It was a day that would change young New Zealand forever. About 400 people gathered in Oamaru at the memorial in Lower Thames 100 years from the day to mark the occasion. In traditional ANZAC spirit the National Anthem was sung, wreaths were laid and the lives of North Otago serviceman and woman remembered. The service was led by Father Healey. ‘‘There is no doubt that 100 years ago when the New Zealand government committed itself to supporting Britain, and the realisation that we were going to war had set in, there was a feeling of patriotic jubilation,’’ Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said in an address. ‘‘That evening many young men stepped forward to volunteer their services, egged on and urged on by older men. ‘‘Indeed, one Dunedin venue was so packed that the doors has to be padlocked to stop people from trying to enter. ‘‘Those who couldn’t get in simply went to another hall. And why not? There was a widespread belief that what we were doing as a country was doing the right thing. And so it was that the flower of our youth were sought for service and they signed up and they went with a will.’’ From 1914 to 1918, more than 100,000 New Zealand men and women served in the war. Many would never come home and those that did were never the same. ‘‘We as New Zealanders were not slow to answer the call to go and fight to defend our country,’’ North Otago Returned and Services Association president Ian McKay said. ‘‘We’ve all heard how young New Zealanders were excited about the adventures they would go on. Leaving to go overseas they told their loved ones they’d be home in six to nine months. ‘We’d be home by Christmas’.’’ But it wasn’t to be. The war carried on another four years and Reflection: Members of the Oamaru Salvation Army Band, emergency services and Air Training Corps. more than 18,000 New Zealanders never returned. The service was an opportunity to remember their sacrifice, their willingness to fight for New Zealand’s freedom. ‘‘We will remember the men and women who lost their lives for our young country. We will remember those who went off to war and returned and why so many of them bore the mental and physical effects of their traumatic experiences,’’ Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said. ‘‘We will remember those who stayed behind and supported the war effort through hard work and generous donations of money and goods to help our men overseas.’’ And it was a moment to look to the future with hope. ‘‘Today 100 years later, all we as a community can really do is prayerfully and respectfully thank them for their efforts and thank them for their sacrifice. ‘‘We must also pray and hope that our nation will never, ever again have to confront any of the horrors our forebears had to face, to respond to and endure,’’ Dean said. In memory: Several wreaths were laid as part of the World War I commemoration ceremony. Photos: JUDE BLAIR. Allies:NewZealand’s strong British links were recognised at Waitaki’s World War I commemoration. 3 Sombre: A strong crowd gathered for Waitaki’s World War I commemoration, held last Tuesday. A safety message from Network Waitaki A safety message from Network Waitaki Remember to watch for the wires over your head when you are busy around the house. Before you start work take note of where the wires are. 6164301AR The electricity company that Delivers power in North Otago Stay Alert - Stay Alive.
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