Flag flies high – lest we forget

Personal remembrance . . . Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope holds the Anzac-themed flag he is flying in the lead-up to Anzac Day, in memory of family members who served and died in war time. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A vibrant Anzac-themed flag flutters above Paul Pope’s Otago Peninsula home as a personal tribute to those who have served in wartime.

As Anzac Day approaches, Mr Pope’s thoughts have turned to the experiences of three generations of his family in both world wars, and the sacrifices they and thousands of other service-people have made.

His great-grandfather survived Ypres and The Somme during World War 1, and his grandfather served in Egypt during World War 2.

His father, Tom Pope, signed up with the Royal Navy under-age in 1942, and served in the North Atlantic.

His Dunedin-born great uncle Edward Osborne, a pilot who learned to fly in Mosgiel, fought and was killed in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

“Being in lockdown, I have thought a lot about the service they gave and the sacrifices they made during war,” Mr Pope, who is Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman, said.

“And now, in peacetime, in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, we have a different type of service going on around us — in our supermarkets and across the community.”

It was definitely a time for reflection on the phrase “lest we forget”, which had relevance to the past, the present, and the future, he said.

As Saturday’s Anzac Day commemorations fall during the Level 4 lockdown, preventing gatherings for parades and services, New Zealanders are planning other ways to pay their respects.

Many will join the national #StandAtDawn movement, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and listen to broadcast services.

The #StandAtDawn movement is being led by the New Zealand Returned and Services Association and the NZ Defence Force, which are inviting the public to commemorate Anzac Day from home, “apart, but together as one”.

In a statement, the RSA said “this is a time to pay respect and acknowledge the many thousands of our military people who are serving or have served, who are called upon to support New Zealand in times of war, conflict and disasters”.

At 6am tomorrow (Saturday, April 25) members of the public are invited to stand at their letterboxes, in driveways, on balconies, and in lounge rooms, to remember our fallen, while remaining within their bubbles.

The official dawn service will be broadcast from 6am on RNZ, and will include The Last Post, the Ode of Remembrance, National Anthems, and an address by Minister of Defence/Minister for Veterans Ron Mark.

Dunedin RSA president Lox Kellas said, although services could not be held this year, “the important thing is to pause and reflect”.

“The message is still the same — in the morning, we will remember them,” he said.

Montecillo War Veterans’ Home & Hospital has placed white crosses in its garden, to represent the residents who have died in the past year.

Residents remembered
. . . Some of the white
crosses placed in the gardens of Montecillo War Veterans’ Home& Hospital to mark the passing of residents in the past year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Dunedin’s Channel 39-Southern Television will broadcast an Anzac Day commemoration, based around the format of the usual dawn service at the cenotaph in Queen’s Gardens.

It will comprise recordings of past addresses, and recorded presentations from scheduled speakers, as well archive video of Anzac parades and services around the district.

The Anzac Dawn Tribute 2020 will be broadcast on Channel 39-Southern TV on Saturday at 6am, 9am, noon, 5.30pm, 7pm, and 9pm, and repeated on Sunday, at 5.30pm, and Monday, at 5.30pm, 7pm, and 9.30pm.

★ The Star would like to share your photos and video clips of how you observed Anzac Day. Email them to star@thestar.co.nz or share them on The Star Facebook page with the hashtag #StandAtDawn #AnzacDay @RSANational @NZDefenceForce.