Greetings! Since this weekend is Memorial Day weekend in the States I thought I'd blog about a similar New Zealand holiday that occurred back in April.
Saturday, April 25, New Zealand celebrated ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps). Originally, ANZAC Day was held to remember the soldiers who fought and died at the battle of Gallipoli in World War I. Since that first observance of ANZAC Day 100 years ago (this year was the centennial), ANZAC Day has transformed into a day to commemorate all soldiers of battles since Gallipoli who have fought and died for Australia/New Zealand. For this day I attended a ceremony at dawn in front of the Auckland Museum, held at that time of day for the symbolism (although death is dark, with the light comes freedom). During the ceremony a pipe band played, an 100 person choir/small band performed, soldiers past and present walked the grounds, and there was a helicopter flyover in commemoration.
The ceremony overall was very powerful, but my favorite part was when the choir and band performed “I Vow to Thee, My Country”. At first as I was listening I thought “hmm…this sounds vaguely familiar” even though I didn’t recognize the title of the song, but then I realized, I did know it! “I Vow to Thee, My Country” is a hymn taken from part of The Planets suite by Holst, and I played The Planets last semester in orchestra. Crazy.
Have a great week and a lovely Memorial Day, everybody!