Anzac dawn service in Picton

Thousands of people attended the Anzac dawn service at the Picton War Memorial on Wednesday morning.

The ceremony commemorated the 100th year since World War I ended.

It also paid tribute to all New Zealanders killed in past wars and all those who were currently in service.

Speeches were made by Marlborough Mayor John Leggett, Picton RSA president John McCarthy and British High Commissioner Andrew Burrows.

“At this time in 1918, things were still uncertain,” Leggett said.

“Servicemen and women were still dying as Germany was still pushing the front line.

“These troops endured conditions that defied imagination. Our eventual retreat was our only success.

“As the years have passed, we saw how the effects of this war took its toll.

“We had a generation of men who went missing and those who did return came home damaged.

“That’s why today is so important. We must remember the enormous scale of grief that our patriotism cost this country.”

Burrows said the Anzac spirit was “still alive today”.

“Thousands lost their lives at Gallipoli and although it was a military defeat, it was the start of something greater,” he said.

“The Anzac spirit was defined and it’s something that’s still a recognisable quality of New Zealanders in service today.”

McCarthy said he was uncertain where the future would take New Zealand.

“At this time, thousands of people around the country are attending dawn services to remember the suffering of millions,” he said.

“But, overseas, new powers are trying to start a new one. And countries without armed forces could be stepped on by their neighbours.

“I don’t know the answer.”

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