Yesterday (its Friday 12th here now) New Zealand honoured the fallen of all Wars, in a very special way.
At last after 90 years (negotiations have been in place since 1921) "a unknown soldier", has been returned to New Zealand. His identity "Known only to God"
A very moving Ceremony involved nearly the whole of 11th and much of the previous week. The French honoured him on his departure last Monday and the people of Auckland on Wednesday morning. The coffin lay in State in Parliament Buildings from 2.00pm Wednesday to 10.30am Thursday. The queue to honour the soldier frequently wound out through the buildings to the grounds. At 10.30 he was carried by 6 Senior Officers from all Branches of the Forces to Wellington Cathedral, (about 300 yards) where a Service began at 1100hrs (11th day 11th month) with 2minutes silence. The service honoured all those who had fallen in defence of Freedom, in particular all those young men for whom there is no known grave, from the Boer War to Vietnam (some would like the Maori Wars included) concluding with the committal of the "Unknown Soldier" to the land of his birth.
The Parade brought the City to a halt, but from the Cathedral to National War Memorial, (nearly one side of the City to the other) where he was interred with full Military Honours.
"May he rest in peace, and families draw comfort from the thought that this young man, may be the son, brother uncle etc of a forbear, who was 'lost in action' and for whom there is no known grave"
You may also be interested in All Quiet on the Home Front - Steve Humphries & Richard Van Emden