Communities remember those lost at war

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 09:00 26/04/2014
Wreaths are laid at the noon Anzac commemoration at Ashhurst village.
DAVID UNWIN

CIVIC HONOUR: Wreaths are laid at the noon Anzac commemoration at Ashhurst village.

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After four Anzac ceremonies, the returned service men and women of Ashhurst can relax for another year knowing their communities remember those lost at war.

Members of the Ashhurst RSA paid tribute to their fallen comrades at locations around the village from dawn until midday yesterday. RSA president Charlie Renata said the club of 415 members had always held three services - the dawn parade, an 8.30am cemetery service, and the civic service at midday.

"We originally had the three services but then Pohangina came on board last year," he said.

"Because there are a lot of our soldiers buried out there, we decided to do something for that community too."

Renata said there was definitely demand for the four services.

"It's growing every year and it's good to see the younger generation are coming forward too," he said.

"We had a good turnout at the dawn parade and some of the feedback from the civic service is that there were two or three hundred [people].

"Because we're a tight community that's something important too - it is what the spirit of Anzac is about, to get together and support each other and to remember," Renata said.

At midday, a marching band led army personnel, RSA members and school students down the main street of Ashhurst, to and from the cenotaph, where wreaths were laid, a three-volley gun salute was held and the Last Post was played.

Returned serviceman Dave Kinnaird, 82, from Ashhurst, attended all four services.

He served in the New Zealand Army as a medic on the front line in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam.

"For us, the service is passing a message of remembrance, and the RSA is about comradeship and giving the younger guys the opportunity to talk to us vets because we've been there and done that."

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