The Nation Goes Silent To Remember The War Dead
Monday 15 April 2002
A nationwide observance to remember the fallen will occur for the first time this ANZAC Day, Thursday April 25 at 10 am.
Radio and television stations are joining together in a unique broadcast to mark this remembrance observance. They will play a reading of the Ode to the Fallen followed by a six second silence and the haunting strains of the Last Post. The remembrance will last for almost two minutes.
The initiative came from Wellington broadcaster Sue Scott. She put the idea of a collective form of remembrance to the Prime Minister, who thought the initiative was “excellent” and called on all New Zealanders to join in their own moment of remembrance on ANZAC Day morning at 10.00 am. She said “I have experienced, along with many other New Zealanders, the sense of family members lost through war and this provides us with the chance to remember them with respect and dignity”.
The RSA was similarly impressed. “The Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association is delighted to endorse this initiative, viewing it as part of the continuing evolution of the way in which New Zealanders commemorate ANZAC Day,” says David Cox, National President.
And the Leader of the Opposition Bill English says “In this moment of silence I hope we will honour the contribution of those who were prepared to serve their country loyally when called upon.”
Sue then set about organising media participation in the event, with Radio New Zealand creating a soundtrack to play simultaneously across both commercial and non-commercial radio stations and television, with TVNZ producing the visuals.
“The idea is particularly appropriate given the increasing interest in ANZAC Day, especially among younger people, and its significance in our history,” says Radio New Zealand CEO Sharon Crosbie. “Such a shared moment will do a lot to contribute to our sense of nationhood.”
“Television has the ability to bring an event such as this to life for all New Zealanders,” says Rick Ellis, Chairman of the Television Broadcasters’ Council. “Few of us are unmoved by the haunting images of a previous generation of young New Zealanders fighting for their country on foreign battlefields. This initiative will encourage the nation to reflect on the sacrifices of those that served
Sue says the nationwide observance in no way detracts from other ANZAC Day services. In fact she believes that it will allow those unable to attend a service to participate in a remembrance observation and reach out to a younger generation. “There has been a growing interest and eagerness over recent years, especially amongst young New Zealanders, to learn more about and to honour their gallant forbears,” she says, and she would like as many people as possible to be involved.
She adds: “I do want to thank all those broadcasters who are supporting this nationwide act of remembrance.”
It is envisaged that this mark of respect on ANZAC Day will become an annual event.