These paper poppies are sold by the New Zealand RSA (Returned Services Association) (The services being the Army, Navy and Air Force) to raise money for the care of ex servicemen and women. On a proportional basis New Zealand has one of the highest numbers of service men and women killed during World War 2.
ANZAC Day had its beginnings after the first world war and especially the battle at Gallipoli in Turkey. ANZAC stands for 'Australian and New Zealand Armoured Corps'. We fought alongside Australians at Gallipoli and this was the genesis of what is called the 'Anzac Spirit' - facing adversity together with our now great Trans Tasman sporting rivals.
At various services nationwide today the tradition of playing the 'Last Post' on a lone bugle and the reading of these words from the poem 'For The Fallen' by Robert Binyon took place.
" They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. "
There is a growing interest in New Zealand amongst young people to participate these dawn services and there is a growing trend for young New Zealanders living or travelling in Europe to make a pilgrimage to ANZAC Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey to participate in commemorative services there.
I think this growing interest is appropriate so long as it doesn't tend towards the glorification of war - the Hitler war was a war that had to be fought and won and we owe a debt to those who fought it on our behalf.