After last year’s Anzac Day social detachment, crowds returned to morning services across the country
A year after Covid canceled all services, New Zealanders rose to recognize their soldiers and women on Anzac Day.
Last year, the pandemic and the level four blockade left New Zealanders in front of their mailboxes in a socially distant tribute. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was accompanied by her partner and father at the bottom of the Wellington Premier House driveway, listening to the Last Post in silence before returning to the official residence.
This year, she participated and spoke at the largest religious service in New Zealand, at the Auckland War Museum Memorial in Auckland Domain.
The Scottish-born soldier served in Basra with the British army before moving to the New Zealand army a decade ago, returning to the Middle East.
The quote states that Hill was “a trusted officer within the coalition headquarters of Australia and New Zealand”, leading the team during a missile crisis and rocket attacks.
“Lieutenant Colonel Hill’s achievements are of an extremely high caliber and are indicative of the ethos, traditions and values of the New Zealand army, the New Zealand defense force and the Anzac spirit,” he said.
The same medal was awarded to Corporal Charles Munns for his role in a rocket attack on Taji military camp in March last year.
Corporal Jessica Healey-Render and Private Maddison Van Sitter also received a commendation from the Chief of the Defense Force for the same event.
Munns remembered the attack, when 29 rockets exploded in a one-kilometer square, killing many people, including two American soldiers and a British doctor.
“At first you don’t think it’s real because you train a lot, but in seconds you realize what’s going on,” he said.
The Healey-Render quote applauded his “medical skills and decision-making”.
“We heard the rockets right after we finished a step class at the gym. I found my evacuation team and we drove down the road where we soon found our first victim. That’s when I realized the true nature of the situation, ”she said.
“I admit it was scary – you never think there will come a day when you will literally be running for your life.”