It is an extraordinary Anzac Day celebration for New Zealanders and Aussies today as coronavirus tests our humanity. Instead of gathering together at dawn services across the country people stood at dawn outside their homes at 6am. A minute silence was observed around the country and the National Anthem was played on Radio NZ National.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday urged Kiwis worldwide to stand at dawn on Saturday 25 April in solidarity. Today, she is one of many who took part in the initiative Stand At Dawn with her fiancé, Clarke Gayford and her Dad by her side. “The RSA has encouraged all of us to commemorate our service personnel by standing at the end of driveways or near our letterboxes at 6am – to stand at dawn,” says Jacinda.

Jacinda Ardern is standing in silence at dawn with Clarke Gayford to her left and her father, Ross Ardern to her right to mark 2020 Anzac Day, 25th April. (Photo: Ross Giblin/Stuff)
Street gathering for the dawn service at Findhorn Place, Porirua. (Photo: Fiona Foxall/Stuff)
Words from Prime Minister’s address

While celebrating the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation in the face of a new global threat. “As we face these significant challenges, we remember the courage of those who have served in the name of peace and justice. And we remember the responsibility we all share to look after each other in difficult times, to make Aotearoa a place that stands up at home and in the international community for the values of inclusiveness, kindness and compassion,” she said.

New Zealand’s oldest living WWII veteran Ron Hermanns (108) stands in his driveway on Anzac Day. (Photo: Alden Williams/Stuff)

Also, she recalled that Anzac Day is a time to reflect on the contribution made by each New Zealander who has served in war and conflict. “Over the decades it has become a time also to reflect on who we are as a nation, and the values that we stand for. I encourage all New Zealanders to connect in thought and remembrance on this special day, and to help ensure our many stories continue to be told,” said Jacinda.

Standing in Solidarity

Minister for Workplace Relations, Immigration and ACC, Iain Lees-Galloway, took to his Facebook page to express his solidarity. “On ANZAC Day we remember those who have fought and died on our behalf. We also commemorate sacrifice for the greater good and solidarity as a nation. Right now, our nation is once again working together in solidarity, making the necessary sacrifices to preserve our way of life. And we are winning. The ANZAC spirit lives on. Kia kaha,” he wrote.

There are lots of reactions on Twitter where users expressed their connection to this day. Cr. Cynthia Watson was poetic in her post. “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

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