Armistice Day remembrance

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RSA President Merv Brenton speaks during Armistice Day commemorations at the Ashburton cenotaph.

Returned service personnel and members of the public gathered at the cenotaph today in Ashburton to commemorate Armistice Day.

Armistice Day acknowledges the signing of an armistice between The Allies and Germany and the ending of the World War I in 1918.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent.

Although Anzac Day has become the main day to remember the fallen of WWI, New Zealand continues to mark Armistice Day every year.

Around 50 people took part in the Ashburton ceremony which started with two minutes of silence after the town clock struck eleven.

RSA president Merv Brenton and Ashburton District Council deputy mayor Liz McMillan gave speeches, then wreaths were laid on the steps of the cenotaph and The Last Post was played by Jim Lischner.

Members of the Ashburton Cadet Unit and Ashburton Air Training Corp’s 24 Squadron were also involved.

Mr Brenton said although there were no WWI veterans alive now it was still important to remember their sacrifice.

‘‘The veterans didn’t talk about it much, but if you watch the movies like Peter Jackson’s (They Shall Not Grow Old) it just shows why they didn’t talk, it was horrendous, today warfare is totally different, in those days it was really hand to hand.’’

Ms McMillan said at the start of WWI there were 12,000 people living in the Ashburton district and 500 locals were killed in that war.

‘‘It has had a huge impact on the district, so we are here to commemorate what they did and the sacrifices they made for us,’’ she said.