Stand at dawn – how we will pay tribute on Anzac Day

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South Canterbury communities will creatively commemorate New Zealanders killed in war and honour returned and serving servicemen and women.

Traditional Anzac Day services across New Zealand have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The RSA and New Zealand Defence Force said although public Anzac services were unable to go ahead, it did not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too.

‘‘We would like you to join us to remember those who gave their lives for our country,’’ they said in a joint statement.

‘‘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.

‘‘Join us at 6am on Saturday, April 25. Stand at your letterbox, at the front door, in your lounge rooms, balconies, in your driveway. Wherever you are in the world, stand with us and take a moment to remember our fallen – but please stay within your ‘bubble’.’’

South Canterbury RSA (Timaru) and Pleasant Point RSA will be following this action but some
surrounding RSAs are adding something extra.

Thirty-one-year-old Mackenzie RSA president and former soldier Corporal Ryan Gilbert was based in Burnham for 10 years, and is on standby in the Timaru reserves.

‘‘I will be doing a livestream video on our Facebook page reading out the ode. We just want people to do what they feel like they want to do for Anzac Day,’’ Cpl Gilbert said.

‘‘I will be in uniform, paying respect.’’

Waimate RSA president Richard Welsh said their howitzer artillery gun would fire three rounds at 3pm.

‘‘I will play the Last Post at 7am on the doorstep and again at 11am at the town clock, place the wreath on the gate and that will be it,’’ Mr Welsh said.

He has put up a field of remembrance on the section next to his residence and will spend some time there on the day.

The Geraldine RSA has asked residents to place pictures of poppies in their windows, to remember those fallen.

Poppy templates can be found on the RSA website.

Temuka RSA president Reverend Gene Lawrence said the branch would follow the national ‘‘Stand at Dawn’’ action with a minor difference.

‘‘Our chairperson, Frank Bray, is a returned Vietnam veteran who lives in Timaru. I know that he is planning a short service from his balcony at 6am with the ode,” he said.

‘‘The Last Post and Reveille is being played as his form of remembrance.”

* Stand at dawn with South Canterbury and the country at 6am on Saturday, April 25. Stand at your letterbox, at the front door, in your lounge rooms, balconies, in your driveway. Wherever you are in the world, stand and take a moment to remember our fallen – but please stay within your ‘bubble’.