'We did our job and now we hope you will do yours'
One says the war made him a man. One says the army made him a better man.
Two west Auckland war veterans reflected on their service for our country before Anzac Day.
Colin Cameron was a teenager when he signed up for Royal New Zealand Navy, much to the chagrin of his mother.
But the now 92-year-old had the support of his father who had fought at Gallipoli.
Cameron served as a radar operator on HMS Achilles from 1942-1946.
He was 17 when he stepped foot on the ship and returned "a man" of 21, he said.
The Auckland man earned five medals for his service. The 39-45 star for joining the war, the Atlantic and North Sea star, the Burma star with a Pacific clasp, a service medal from the Commonwealth and one from his home country for his service.
There was a chance he would wear them to this year's Anzac Day service at the New Lynn RSA, but he would be having a "big beer" with his mates, he said.
There was a special one in the crowd, he said, a fellow ex-navy man who he went to school with.
But so many years on, he did not think the world had learned much from World War II.
Cameron said New Zealand was the only country staying out of the fight, while everyone else seemed to be wanting to "have a go".
The war veteran said he had much hope for the new generation. He was encouraged by the youth who turned up to the Anzac Day dawn service at Auckland Museum.
"We did our job and now we hope you will do yours."
Not far from where Cameron lives in Blockhouse Bay, another war survivor, Albert Asher, planned to attend a service at his retirement village.
For the 100-year-old, Anzac Day brought bittersweet memories. He served in England, Syria, Greece and Tunis.
"I survived the war, but on my way back home I got bowled over by a car in England and suffered a broken hip. How is that for a story?"
Anzac Day reminded him of the friends he had lost.
But he said it was the army that made him a better man.
"The army has given me everything. I was very lucky. I used to be shy, but I became a much better person by the end of my time with them."
For Asher, Anzac Day was not "really a celebration".
Asher rang in his his 100th birthday with friends and family at the New Lynn RSA in August last year.
Go to rsa.org.nz to find the nearest Anzac Day service to you.