Armistice Day is the older brother to Anzac Day and some war veterans would like to see a bigger following to reflect its importance in the military calendar.
A small but committed crowd braved the weather in Palmerston North yesterday for Armistice Day and paid their respects to the fallen men and women of the military.
British army veteran and expat Paul Weldrand was on parade with a small group of other veterans and said while there was a reasonable crowd, he would like to see more people at Armistice Day, marking the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I.
However, he acknowledged that the memorial event was more traditionally a British one.
"The 11th hour of the 11th day in November is as prominent in our diary as Anzac Day is to Kiwis," he said.
As the Last Post rang out, the rain came down in sheets and umbrellas were raised, then representatives of the RSA, army, air force and navy, Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor and Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway laid wreathes beneath the cenotaph in the The Square, watched by about 50 people.
Air force group captain Darryn Webb said people needed to honour a new generation of men and women who had lost their lives in military conflict. He said society was being moulded by a new war experience and it was important to remember the eight New Zealand soldiers who had fallen this year. "Because they are now part of the roll of honour."
Mr Weldrand said he liked to pay his respects to the people he had served with and those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
"Anzac Day is good for that, but it is focused on Gallipoli. Armistice Day is when it really kicks in for me."
A real estate agent, Mr Weldrand served 16 years in the Prince of Wales Regiment of Yorkshire and did tours in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Bosnia and the Gulf.
He said the British armed forces featured in most conflicts around the world.
"It's been heavily involved in every scenario and conflict since World War II."
Mr Weldrand said that with the growing British population in Palmerston North, the Armistice Day crowd was likely to grow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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