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Solemnly remembering - the 92nd anniversary of Armistice Day

The New Zealand Defence Force was represented at services both in New Zealand and offshore.

In Wellington attendees enjoyed warm, sunny weather at the national commemorative service at the National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. 

A 25 person Guard of Honour of Army personnel, and catafalque guards comprising personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force paraded in support of the ceremony. A dawn to dusk vigil was held over the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Musical support was provided by the Central Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Two minutes silence was observed as the peace bell was tolled 11 times to signify the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Wreaths were laid by a number of dignitaries including their Excellencies the Right Honourable Governor General Anand Satyanand and Lady Satyanand, The Honourable Judith Collins, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Vice Chief of Defence Force, Rear Admiral Jack Steer and Lieutenant General (rtd) Don McIvor, National President of the RNZRSA.

The commemorative service at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was followed by a service of music, prayer and readings in the Hall of Memories.

Background

Armistice Day commemorates the sacrifice of those who died serving New Zealand in the First World War and all subsequent wars.

It is the anniversary of the official end of World War I, November 11, 1918 and commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

While the signing of the Armistice marked the official end of the war, the majority of New Zealand’s Expeditionary Force did not return home until 1919.

World War I was undoubtedly the most traumatic event in New Zealand’s history.  From a population of a little more than one million in 1914, the Dominion sent just over 100,000 soldiers overseas as members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the War. A total of 18,500 New Zealanders died in or because of the war, and nearly 50,000 more were wounded. More than 2700 died at Gallipoli and 12,500 on the Western Front.

Since the end of the World War I, much attention in New Zealand has focused on the Gallipoli campaign, but it was the Western Front in France and Belgium where the majority of New Zealanders fought and the majority of casualties were suffered. Hardly a family was unaffected by these terrible losses, which continued to have a major impact on New Zealand society long after the end of hostilities.

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