Camaraderie, tinged with the smell of rum and coffee, was alive and well following Anzac Day commemorations.
Veterans, Defence Force personnel, families and supporters came together to catch up with old friends, relax and escape the wind at the Palmerston North Cosmopolitan Club following yesterday's dawn and civic Anzac Day services.
Palmerston North RSA trust member Mike O'Connor was pleased with the Palmerston North services.
"I'm pleased with the turnout, I'm pleased with the weather, the way it was conducted and that the people who did not come home were remembered," he said. "It really was a good, special occasion."
He said a "small mixup" where the Ode was read by the wrong person during the service "was not a major problem".
The "Cossie Club" has become the new base for Anzac Day following the liquidation sale of the RSA building on Broadway Ave in 2012.
It is the second year the club has hosted service-goers, but manager Desiree Garrigan is keeping quiet about any official plans to take on the responsibility permanently, saying only to "watch this space".
About 600 people were in and out of the club throughout the day, from the pre-dawn ceremony get together, to the post-service coffee-and-rum ritual, through to when the courtesy van stopped making its rounds.
At morning tea, mounds of slices, sandwiches and hot food were being eagerly devoured by a full house of service-goers.
World War II veterans Muri Gordon and Pat Hickton were among them, having been to both the dawn and civic ceremonies.
For Gordon, the day was an opportunity to remember old friends who didn't come home.
"You remember the good things, not the bad things."
For Hickton, the day represents freedom. "That's what it's all about," he said.
- Manawatu Standard
If you had a choice, which would you prefer on Christmas day?Related story: Sun takes a Christmas holiday