Friday, 25 April 2014

Anzac Day 2014

Every year, the Otautau RSA hosts one of the most important events in Otautau's calendar: the Anzac Day Service. This moving, public ceremony brings the community together to honour the men and women who served in New Zealand's Defence Force.

Members of the Otautau RSA and other former military personnel.
In the dark of Anzac morning, we leave our homes and gather around the 1922 war memorial.

Otautau's core civic groups -- Police, Fire, and Ambulance -- are already there dressed in uniform. RSA member, Allan Brown, calls them to attention. Bugler, Dave Clapp, sounds his mournful strains. Before long, in the distance, the pipe band begins its march toward the memorial bringing the St Andrew Scouts and Girl Guides with them. It's always a very poignant moment when the pipe band plays.

St Andrew Scouts about to lay wreath.
The St Andrews Scouts and Girl Guides parade, raise and lower the flag, and lay wreaths. The participation of these young ones is probably more valued than they know.

Three-volley salute.
As the rain drops fell, a 3-volley salute pierced the air, scaring a few Spur-wing plover and giving us all pause for further reflection.

Otautau's Finest: Otautau Fire Brigade standing with other civic groups.
Father Vaughn Leslie (left) and Allan Brown.
Allan Brown conducted the ceremony with the able help of Father Vaughan whose prayers, Benediction and hymns gave it a spiritual dimension.

Members of the Waimatuku Pipe Band.
And though the rain was falling more steadily by the end, the soul-stirring strains of the Waimatuku Pipe Band filled the air once again, beating out a solemn, moving conclusion to the morning. The Band led the parade and community to the Otautau Fire Station where a morning tea was given.

Once again, the Otautau RSA's Anzac Day Service brought the community together in remembrance to feel, share and strengthen its bond. Thank you, RSA, for this important public ceremony.

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