Topic: Aubrey Balzer's ANZAC address 2006

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ANZAC Address 2006, at Rotorua, presented by Col Aubrey Balzer; shown on Maori TV. This appeared in the August 2006 (number 44) newsletter of the 6th Hauraki Association.

Article looking wrong? See archived version here.

6th Hauraki Insignia

"ANZAC Day - and as the dawn heralds the birth of this special day. A day forever enshrined in the history of our nation, New Zealander's wherever they may be, gather together to pay homage to, and to acknowledge and remember the tremendous sacrifices our young men made, so that we may live in freedom and peace in this beautiful country of ours.

Today, we mourn for the many thousands of our soldiers, sailors, and airman who made the supreme sacrifice; they paid for our freedom with their lives. Their reward, a small plot, marked with a white cross in a far off foreign land. We extend our sympathy to their families, whose lives were shattered by the loss of their beloved sons, husbands, relatives and friends. They too paid dearly for our freedom, and sacrificed much.

We turn our thought to those who arrived home on the hospital ships, all bearing horrific wounds. Many spent their lives in constant pain and were never able again to live a normal life, or participate in the activities they once enjoyed prior to the war. They too paid a very high price for our freedom.

Lastly we remember the war weary soldiers who returned home on the troop ships. Many had been traumatized by the horrors and stress of war, memories of which invaded their thoughts by day, while nightmares plagued their sleep at night. After having served many years in the services, some had difficulty readjusting to civilian life. They had little, if any money, and needed to find work urgently. Many had gone straight from school into the forces, and so had no trade or work experience to offer an employer. Job seekers were plentiful, work was not! Many of those who failed to make the transition from war to peace, and unable to clear their minds of the recurring images of wartime experiences, sought forgetfulness in alcohol. Do not condemn them, but try to understand their problem and be compassionate. Unlike today, there was no counselling available for troubled soldiers after the war.
We who served in World War 2 believed that we fought and won the war to end all wars. We now know that freedom also has to be defended, hence we once again have our young men putting their lives, their health and future at risk. Many have once again made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace.

We therefore this day, remember those who served in Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, East Timor, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands. We support these veterans in gaining recognition for the health problems they and their children suffer as a result of their service in Vietnam or any other theatre of war. They and all other returned soldiers deserve nothing less than our total support and assistance. So let us give them whatever help they need. They have paid for and earned it. Let us extend to them our heartfelt thanks for the part they are playing in ensuring that we may continue to live in peace and liberty.

In conclusion, to my people, the Maori, the tangata whenua of New Zealand, I say be proud, stand tall, our young warriors earned us the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with other freedom loving people of the world. In the foreword of the book entitled " 28 Maori Battalion", General Freyberg wrote that when the history of the battalion is written and published, it will be recognised that no other infantry Battalion had a more distinguished record or saw more fighting, or alas, had such heavy casualties as the Maori Battalion. This is born out in the official statistics which apply only to the Battalion and does not include Maori causalities suffered in other units or forces, or services.

Killed in action or died of wounds: 640 Officers and men. A ratio of 1 in every 6 who served in the Battalion.
Casualties: 2598 Maori causalities. 2 in every 3 that served.

We as a small race, paid dearly with the lives and blood of the finest young men of our people. They did so for the love of their country - Aotearoa - and so that we here in New Zealand could continue to live in freedom, peace, and harmony, all of which are so precious to us all.

We will remember them."
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The page archived at Perma CC in September of 2016: https://perma.cc/4786-V9Q8

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