Anzac Dawn Service
Thursday 25th April is a special date in the New Zealand calendar, commemorating those who serve our country both in the past and the present. Many souls have fallen in conflicts defending the rights, freedoms and lifestyles we enjoy today. On this day we give thanks and remember them.
Anzac Day dawn services in Singapore are held at the Kranji War Memorial Cemetery, a calm oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A perfect setting for quiet reflection. The crowds made their way in the dark to assemble silently in front of the monument awaiting the service. The catafalque party, a guard to watch over the monument, took their places signalling the start of events.
After introductions from NZ Defence Advisor Group Captain Greg Burroughs, Reverend Philip Sinden opened with a prayer followed by a reading from the Australian High Commissioner, HE Mr Bruce Gosper. The Australian International School choir led the crowd in singing the hymn Abide with Me before another reading, this time from Turkish Ambassador HE Mr Murat Lutem.
Also addressing the crowd was the New Zealand High Commissioner, HE Jo Tyndall who recalled a personal connection to war as she told us of her great uncle imprisoned in Singapore during World War II. Unfortunately, he did not make it home to his family, passing away in the prison camp.
While Anzac Day holds wide significance in Australia and New Zealand, we are not the only ones who have seen war and conflict. Foreign dignitaries across the globe from Nigeria to Costa Rica attended the service, standing with us to honour the courage and sacrifices made by service men and women everywhere.
As dawn broke, wreaths were laid by the official party, dignitaries and those who wished to pay their respects, bringing a bright splash of colour to the grey stone. The last post rang out followed by a minute’s silence, broken only by the birds singing as they woke for the day and flew overhead.
New Zealand and Australia national anthems closed the ceremony before guests made their way back down the hill to the car park for refreshments. Coffee, anzac biscuits and a swig of rum for the more adventurous over conversation with friends and family provided the perfect “pick me up” to get the normal work day started.
Another successful Anzac service passes thanks to the considerable work put in behind the scenes by the New Zealand Defence Force team in Singapore.