Crowd of about 500 gathers for remembrance

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Showing respect. . .Gore primary school pupils prepare to lay a wreath during the Gore Anzac day dawn service on Monday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The Hokonui Celtic Pipe band led the Gore and Districts Memorial RSA parade to the centotaph in Gore’s Anzac Day dawn service.

About 500 people gathered at the centotaph for the 103rd commemoration.

Gore and Districts Memorial RSA padre Bruce Cavanagh gave a short address.

“We remember on this day above all days, those who did not return,” Mr Cavanagh said.

After the wreaths were laid, the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand were sung.

An Anzac dedication was read by Afghanistan veteran Aaron Horrell.

“We who are gathered here, think of the comrades who went out with us to do battle but did not return.

“As the dawn is now about to pierce the night, so let their memory inspire us to work for the coming of the new light into the dark shadows of the earth,” Mr Horrell said.

Ashleigh and Brian Butterfield and family attended the service for the first time together.

Mrs Butterfield said she had attended the service as a child but it was nice to be able to come as a family.

“It was absolutely beautiful,” Mrs Butterfield said.

Attending the event was one way to teach their children about the sacrifices their forebears made, they said.

“It’s even more important than ever to honour the values and the sacrifices made,” Mr Butterfield said.

Southland MP Joseph Mooney was the guest speaker at the Waikaka Anzac service at the centennial hall.

Mr Mooney said he recalled a past Anzac when a Covid-19 lockdown restricted people gathering.

“Many of us stood in front of our homes at dawn.

“Our Anzac spirit was undiminished and undaunted by a global pandemic.

“Under lockdown, we were together, apart.”

The recent invasion of Ukraine was a stark reminder of the horror and devastation that war brings.

“As we witness events unfolding around the world, we see that the human toll of the conflict is not confined to the past nor to a single generation.”

Other services including those at Mataura, Edendale, Wyndham and Seaward Downs, reported very good attendances.