To-morrow all New Zealand honours the heroes of Anzac. it seems fitting that Anzac'Day should fall in the Easter season, inseparably linked with the triumphant hope given to us at that time. The Easter "Te Deum still lingers in our ears as we go to our Anzac commemoration. Living or dead, our soldiers have offered the great, sacrifice and will surely have their part with One who broke for them the bonds of death. They are more than conquerors, for they also bore the cross. , ■ , v As the seers of old, so their bodies and spirits had been attuned to the great testing among the deserts and sands of Egypt. Through the tires or a tropical sun, through the crucibles of iron discipline 'and stern restraint, through the trial of long waiting and dialing delay, through all they came at last strong of limb, lithe in muscle, clear-eyed j prepared. Those who knew them at that time tell us that never was there so fine a body of men, clean, eager, ready for war. Among their number, one has sung their senti-
"Now God be thanked, Who has matched us. with His hour, And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping. With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power. . . Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary, Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move."
We can see them in the dawn of that wonderful Sunday morning, come at last to that "business for their country for which all had offered freely, we can see the crowded barges rushing shorewards, the leaping, struggling, eager men scrambling on shore and upwards. We can see the jostling transports out there still disgorging more strength, we can hear the shrill music of death from the shells pouring from ships ot war and land batteries, and then the sharp chatter and rattle of machinegun and rifle. Now our men are moving up and over the ridges, facing death, but with high resolve in thenhearts; and through the fiery hours which followed, through their great feat of arms, through their tenacity and pride aud courage, they have written in letters of flame on a hitherto nameless spot, the word Anzac. Fired by their example, throughout the following years, the torch they flung from Gallipoli burnt strongly on other battlefields, flaming to the final victory that destroyed the powers of evil. So to-morrow will be Anzac Day. New Zealand holds it sacred to the memory of her manhood. It is New Zealand's coniing-of-agc. In younger jiays, the mettle of our Dominion had oeen tried on Colonial fields. But first, at Anzac, did we inscribe our name in the battle pages of tlie scarred book of European History. With a fine touch of imagination, New Zealand has claimed this day, red-lettered it, made it her own. On April 25, 1915, she came to her majority, magnificently, heroically, but soberly and in earnest. She took her place, splendidly and adequately, with a fine succession beside the Motherland ; took her place for freedom and right and justice, contemning oppression and the cruel rule of might. It is because of all this that Anzac is cherished in memory, and becomes a national symbol. For whether, humanly speaking, the great adventure on Gallipoli was a glorious failure or not, it gave power and inspiration to our national life. It lit a clear flame in our hearts, gave us a tradition "which has already earned us unwavering to the end at Le Quesnoy, which will live as long as our country lives. We can give, thanks for the men of Anzac and their comrades who have unflinchingly followed them—with all our hearts we can give thanks. Whatever comes, the men we love played tho part of men, did their duty simply, fearlessly. The soldier-poet who served in the Gallipoli campaign and died for his '
country at Scyros, has sung this requiem :—
Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead! There's none of these so lonely and poor of old, But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold. These laid the world away; poured out the red Sweet wine of youth, gave up the years to be, Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene, That men call age; and those who would have been, Their sons, they gave, their immortality. Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth, Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain. Honour ha 6 come back, as a king, to earth, And paid his subjects with a royal ! wage; . j And nobleness walks in our ways
again; And we have come into our heritage
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IN COMMEMORATION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9593, 24 April 1919
IN COMMEMORATION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9593, 24 April 1919
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