Poppies of Remembrance
As a foreigner in New Zealand, or as I like to think of myself, a modern-day Pakeha, when talk of ANZAC Day became more frequent I searched for some sort of reference point to base my expectations off of. Some likened it to the 4th of July while others said it was more like a September 11th memorial service. I got the distinct feeling that those we made these suggestions had been to neither. So with no real enlightenment I set my expectations high for a true glimpse of what it means to be a New Zealander, set my alarm for 5 a.m. When it went off it was easy to hit snooze about 7 times and list countless reasons why being in my bed was so much better than not. But I heard murmur of people in the street bellow and the door of one of my neighbors open and close so I knew I wouldn’t be alone in the whole ordeal and finally dragged myself upright. I poked my head out the window for a peak and was pleasantly surprised to find a meandering but consistent flow of people towards the Domain. So far I had not underestimated ANZAC Day. I hurriedly got ready (lots of layers for the Dawn Ceremony) and joined the throng. I just kept thinking that going was the least I could do since they gave me a day off and in a few hours I’d be back in my bed again. It didn’t take long to notice that it felt as if all of Auckland was on their way to the park, the long line of people, cars, and even some tour buses stretched farther than I could see and were literally all going in the same direction. Now, as I said I had little knowledge of what to expect, but I can tell you I hadn’t been expecting to get emotional. After all, this isn’t my country, right? I’m in no way a Kiwi, just a simpler passer-by with a strong curiosity. But as I wound my way through the dark park pathways surrounded by couples, families, and groups of friends the sound of the bagpipes reached my ears. They were playing Amazing Grace. I thought of Cap and I felt my tears make their presence known.