Every year we remember the contribution our veterans made to the war effort of the British Empire, the selfless patriotic duty of our South Pacific colony reaching back to support the greater good of world order and peace. War has always been a contentious part of life, some condoning its merits and justification, while others baulk at the pointless loss of life and damage it does to those concerned, with even a greater toll on future generations. Even in the face of victory it seems to be a lose-lose scenario for some innocent parties caught in the crossfire of angry humanity. While I have a deep distaste for war and conflict I must be honest about my internal desire for justice and retribution, something that goes to the core of the hostile and often strong feelings about injustice that rage in the human soul. Moving from retributive to restorative justice will forever be a challenge to mankind.

My Great Grandfather contributed to the First World War effort in the Medical Corps and later rose to the rank of  ‘Warrant Officer’, leaving his young wife and son to serve the Empire. He was stationed in the deserts of Egypt, Jordan and Palestine and was caught up in the second taking of Anzac Cove. Fortunately, unlike many others, he returned home to his family in one piece, or maybe not, as we often tend to underestimate the damage that armed conflict has on the psyche of all concerned.

It is possible that I have inherited some of that psychological scarring and live with some hidden memory that exacerbates my own internal conflicts, a hereditary curse that reminds me of the price of war and the fight that I continue for personal restoration. That aside, I am very grateful for the altruistic efforts of my Great-Poppa and all of those who served with him, contributing to my freedom that affords me the privileged lifestyle I have today, unlike many who still live in war torn parts of the world. 

To all of those who serve in the armed forces, who put their lives on the line everyday for the possibility of justice and peace, 'whakawhetai ki a koe'

No greater love has any person than those who lay down their life for a friend                                         - Jesus