The Ode of Remembrance is a staple of Anzac Day and is recited weekly by the Returned and Services Association (RSA).
For Te Awamutu RSA, it is personalised as much as possible.
“When The Ode is said, you can hear a pin drop in this place, because that is what people respect,” said Te Awamutu RSA life member, Terry Findlay.
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
The Ode comes from the 1914 poem, For the Fallen, by British Poet Laurence Binyon. The fourth stanza of Binyon’s poem emphasises that remembrance can be timeless, and is The Ode that most people are familiar with.
Te Awamutu’s RSA recites The Ode every Friday. Findlay says the association keeps true to the spirit of The Ode by personalising it, reading out two names from the honours board each time it is recited.
“They really do respect what is about, and that honours board is the most important thing in this club,” he said.
Findlay said not only are the names of servicepersons read from the honours board, but also their position, age, location, and nature of passing.
“The RSA prides itself on being a guardian of remembrance and commemoration,” said Te Awamutu RSA president Peter Watson.
Te Awamutu RSA will be involved in the following services:
- A pre-Anzac Day service will be held on April 24 11am at the Pukeatua War Memorial Church.
- On April 25, Anzac Day, there will be a 5.45am march from the RSA to a 6am dawn service at the Sunken Cross on Mutu Street.
- Pirongia will hold an Anzac Day dawn service at 6am, at the Pirongia Memorial Hall.
- Kihikihi will have a wreath laying service at the Kihikihi Cenotaph, 8:45am.
- A service will be held at the Ohaupō town hall at 10am.
- Te Awamutu’s civic service will be held on the Anzac green at 11am, with a march leaving from the RSA at 10:45am.
- Finally, Kāwhia will host a service at the Kāwhia War Memorial at 1pm.
Watson, who has been involved in dawn services for roughly 40 years, says they’re his favourite.
“The acoustics, there is something special about dawn service, it has a lot of meaning to me.