Anzac Day Address in Seoul
Republic of Korea (South)
Speech delivered by Philip Turner, New Zealand Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, on 25 April 2019.
E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā mātā waka, tenā koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, general officers, ladies and gentlemen
One hundred years ago today New Zealand marked the first peacetime Anzac Day. Across the country people gathered to remember losses and experiences that were still raw.
There were four themes at services that day in 1919. Pride in the bravery and endurance that New Zealanders had shown at Gallipoli and on other battlefields. The need to care for returned service personnel. The duty the community had towards families of those who had not returned.
And finally, as one Gallipoli veteran put it: the desire “to make the world a better and brighter place, and to seek the good of others and not our own”.
This last theme is especially relevant today when we remember the appalling terror attack in Christchurch just over a month ago. I also want to take time to think of the even more numerous victims of the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka just last Easter Sunday.
As a nation we in New Zealand are still grieving for those lost. But as with Gallipoli, so with Christchurch, the result has been a resolve as a community not to resile from, but to strengthen our commitment to our core values: of tolerance, of kindness and of an inclusive community, where such hate cannot exist.
Gallipoli was a brutal campaign, misconceived, badly planned and ultimately unsuccessful in all except retreat. Despite words spoken at the time, the First World War did not become the war that ended all wars. Again and again for another century, in another world war and in conflicts in the Pacific, Asia, Afghanistan and the Gulf, New Zealanders and Australians have fallen in defence of our values and ideals. Korea is part of that shared experience of combat and of hope. When North Korea launched its massive attack against the South on 25 June 1950, New Zealand and Australia were quick to answer the call and to join the first peacekeeping operation of the newly established United Nations.
New Zealanders and Australians once again fought side by side in the Commonwealth Brigade in Korea. They were joined by troops from United States, Korea, France, Turkey and many other countries which also answered the call to collective security.
ANZAC Day is a day for us to reflect on the contribution made by all New Zealanders and Australians who have served their country at war.
In the 100 years since the end of the First World War our nation has been transformed, and has recently been tarnished by horrific violence on our own soil. But what has not changed is our commitment to honour those who have served our nation in the past and those who currently serve, and all of those who uphold the values we hold most true as New Zealanders.
Kia ora tatou