Remembrance Day ignites memories

18:44, Nov 11 2012
armistice day invercargill
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM: Armistice Day is honoured at the Invercargill Cenotaph.

The memories of war came flooding back for an emotional 96-year-old Invercargill man yesterday as he joined a small crowd at the foot of the city's cenotaph in honour of Armistice Day.

Also known as Remembrance Day, November 11 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice in 1918, marking the end of World War I. It has since become a worldwide time of commemoration for all men and women who have died in service.

Umbrellas opened as the rain fell while about 30 people of all ages took part in the moment of silence before a laying of wreaths and an opening address by Invercargill MP Eric Roy and a tribute from Royal Returned and Services Association representatives.

After the service, Invercargill man Wattie Thomas, 96, said he went to the 11am service to pay his respects to those he had served with as a young man in World War II.

Mr Thomas, who signed up at age 23 and served in the Middle East, Greece and Crete, said he hoped Remembrance Day would continue to grow in popularity.

The morning had brought back many memories of the war for him, he said.

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For 20-year-old midshipman Samuel Mason and 18-year-old Alexandra Barnett, from the navy ship HMNZS Rotoiti, docked at Bluff this week, the day had a different significance.

Mr Mason said it was different from Anzac Day in that New Zealanders were joined with the rest of the world in remembering those who had served.

Ms Barnett said this was the first Remembrance Day she had attended.

Royal New Zealand Navy Lieutenant Commander Nigel Finnerty said the day had grown in importance for New Zealanders, as they recognised the service of men and women everywhere.

"This is the world's Anzac Day."

Southland