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Parliament to pay respects to Unknown Warrior

8 November 2004 Media Statement

Parliament to pay respects to Unknown Warrior

Parliament will this week hold a special sitting to enable MPs to pay their respects to the Unknown Warrior, whose casket is now on the way home for formal ceremonies before interment in the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, Prime Minister Helen Clark said today.

“The Parliamentary sitting on Armistice Day, Thursday 11 November, will follow on from ceremonies at Parliament on Wednesday 10 November when the Unknown Warrior will be brought to Parliament to lie in state in the Legislative Council Chamber, the Memorial Service in the Cathedral, and the interment at the National War Memorial.

"After formalities on Wednesday at Parliament, the public will be able to view the casket till 10.00am on Thursday.

“Families of those service personnel who died overseas in the past have had no grave of their loved one to visit. At the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior families have a place of remembrance, and New Zealand has a place to acknowledge the courage and sacrifice made in our name overseas.

“The establishment of the Tomb also represents a growing understanding of the part which history has played in shaping the country New Zealand is today."

The idea for the establishment of a Tomb for the Unknown Warrior goes back more than eighty years, following the end of the First World War.

Helen Clark said the ceremonies this week are the culmination of a number of years of negotiation and planning by many individuals and organisations.

“The ceremonial programme for this Wednesday and Thursday is one of the largest commemorative programmes ever undertaken in New Zealand.

“Many veterans and descendants of New Zealand service personnel are travelling to Wellington to pay their respects while the Unknown Warrior lies in state at Parliament, and to be part of the ceremonies and observe the military procession through the streets of Wellington.

“TV, radio, and print media are also planning special broadcasts or publications to mark the return of the Unknown Warrior, ensuring that the events reach the widest possible audience around the country," Helen Clark said.

More details at: http://www.unknownwarrior.govt.nz

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