On Friday 24 April, the college held its ANZAC Service in the Chapel. Colonel Paul King was the guest speaker as our staff and students remembered the students who served their country and paid the supreme sacrifice. We were joined by Longburn School student leaders and Mr Ian McKelvie, MP for Rangitikei, and his wife. Colonel King challenged our students to remember the words of The Ode and and make the most of the time God has put them here on earth (his speech can is available below).
On ANZAC Day itself, Mr van Oostveen and the prefects attended the public service in the Square and laid a wreath on behalf of the college.
Bruce Sharp, Principal
2015 ANZAC ADDRESS: LONGBURN ADVENTIST COLLEGE 24th APRIL 2015
NGA MATE HAERE, HAERE, HAERE
TATOU TE HUNGA ORA TENA KOUTOU, TENA KOUTOU, TENA KOUTOU KATOA.
This is the third time I have had the honour of delivering the ANZAC address to this school community so I am beginning to feel at home here! I have previously spoken of Mateship and Service as being the two most important things that ANZAC day means to me, and I believe to us as New Zealanders. The spirit of ANZAC is essentially that: in serving you made mates; it took courage, commitment, resilience and extreme sacrifice; the ultimate sacrifice they paid is why we gather year after year, this year for the 100th time. It is right and fitting 100 years on that we actually measure how well we are living up to the honour of their sacrifice for us.
If you have attended an ANZAC ceremony, you will have heard repeated the Ode to the fallen, which is the fourth stanza from Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen. It is referred to as the Ode of Remembrance, and was first published in The Times of London in September 1914 – it has been incorporated into the ritual of remembrance in many countries. It reads:
“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.”
As I pondered my message for you in 2015, 100 years tomorrow since the first New Zealand and Australian soldiers went into battle together at Gallipoli and created this solemn day, it got me thinking about what those fallen men would think of us, living out their legacy of the hard fought freedoms they delivered for us.
As we that are left grow old, how would they rate us as courageously confronting the dangers facing humanity in our world?
As we that are left grow old, how would they rate us as building a better society, based on strong family units, courage, commitment, grit and resilience to never give up when the going gets hard at home or at school?
And how would they rate those that are left to enjoy the pleasures of life growing old in a free and beautiful country, Aotearoa, New Zealand as being respectful of their sacrifice, of serving others, of being a good friend, a good neighbour and a loyal and trusted citizen?
As we that are left grow old on the shoulders of those who will grow not old, what will those that follow us say of us, think of us; Will they look up to us as role models or models worth following? Will they learn from us to be the next generation of hard working, high achieving, kind and honest citizens, prepared to serve others and lay down our life in peril for those whom we love?
How will we be judged? Who will be the judge? What will be a pass mark? Will we achieve it, merit it or prove to be excellent shapers or members [leaders or followers] of a future good society?
It is not my place to make judgement of course, but if I were to enter a cold quiet place where I were to be held to account by those who grow not old, I would like to think I could look them in the eye and honourably explain to them that the society they lay down their lives for is in great hands and in great shape. Or could it be that I would have some difficulty explaining some things to them, such as:
- Why we came out of the war to end all wars and through a world Depression and then went to war again from 1939-1945.
- Why we then entered a Cold War until 1991 and why there have been so many smaller wars hence.
- Why we had economic supremacy, global ease of movement by air and even into space and could even communicate easily across thousands of miles instantaneously but were less able to look someone in the eye and communicate face to face.
What I would find difficult to explain would be:
- Why we forgot to smell the roses each day and take long walks along the beach or in the bush because we failed to look up from our screens and use the valuable time they won for us and never got to use; Embrace your life and make the most of your youth, talents and good health, don’t squander it in front of a screen.
- Why we were blessed with being able to make 500 to 5000 friends at the flick of a mouse, where they had to trudge wearily along mountainous ridges to make five to ten close friends, many more mates so to speak and ultimately, give their lives to try and save those mates and friends when peril was at its darkest hour.
They do not get to grow old as we that are left have that pleasure.
How wisely are we using our time as we grow old? How are we making a difference in our world? How are we honouring their sacrifice to make good on the price they paid for our freedom?
I guess the real questions I am posing are rhetorical, but maybe you could allow this ageing soldier to elicit your support for what could be a mission that would make our fallen comrades smile, turn towards us and say – atagirl! Ataboy! Now you’re talking.
My message today is to implore you to make a difference in their honour. There is a saying that goes “there are those among us who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened!” Your mission is to place yourself in that first group who make things happen and lead yourself and lead others to honour their sacrifice by leading change. It is never too late. The journey starts with the first step. Some possible starting actions could include:
- Turn the computer off. Take no screens to bed with you. Have no screens in your room of sleep other than for the purposes of excelling at school. Activate the DO NOT DISTURB.
- Invest the time you save by creating more time to think, to read, to ponder what is coming next and how you can best serve others with your new found time. Time which those who grow not old will never get back.
- Be polite and respectful to others, say please and thank you. Show true respect to your family unit and do everything in your power to support the strength of your family unit.
- See no evil, hear no evil, do no evil; do unto others as you would have others do unto you; be proactive not reactive – make a difference in the world;
- be the very best you can be at what you do – pursue excellence; destroy mediocrity
- Work hard; under promise and over deliver; keep your promises; walk in the shoes of those who have gone before you but stretch those shoes and make them bigger – make a larger footprint of achievement whilst leaving a smaller scar on our earth; leave every job or task or area better than you found it.
- Minimise – we come with nothing and we leave with nothing so rather than joining the line of consumerism and grabbing the next best thing to self-promote, think of ways to minimise and give back – to share; would the men who fought at Gallipoli be tempted to own a selfie stick if they had been given a life extension?
- Be a soluter – a positive person with solutions; get rid of or minimise things that waste your time – a book is a source of knowledge; a computer can provide instant knowledge but if used unwisely can be used as a weapon to bully others, as a distraction and a serious brain inhibitor; use it only for good, wise and honourable intent;
- Walk to the mountains, the bush and the sea – enjoy living in paradise by taking time to smell the roses so to speak; Walk the Manawatu Gorge at least 100 times in your life time – once a year.
They shall grow not old – they died serving their country that we might live in paradise and splendour that we live in today: think about how best you can serve – at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will be judged on how we served others; how we shared for others, not for personal gain; how we made a difference in the world making personal sacrifice for others, to lessen the suffering of others;
The great selfless leaders of the past – from Martin Luther King, to Mahatma Ghandi and Mother Teresa; Sir Edmund Hillary the Popes and Generals and rulers who stood up to evil – Abraham Lincoln, Churchill, Eisenhower – their raison d’etre was serving others and making a difference in the world by confronting things that were not right or selflessly doing things to help others.
Tomorrow, from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island, communities will come together to remember young men and women who served. The bodies of the fallen lie in foreign fields and their names have joined the names from earlier conflicts on the war memorials, but this simple act of remembrance ensures they always remain part of our communities, part of our nation. I urge you to attend an ANZAC service somewhere to say that you were there 100 years on, honouring their sacrifice. They are, and will always be, the sons and daughters of New Zealand and Australia. And we will remember them.
Let me finish with the story of Arnold Garlick, an Old Boy of your school and Great Uncle of one of your past Principals who served in the Otago Rifles on the Western Front at Ypres. He told the story of how terrified he was lying in the trenches, facing death, twice wounded by shrapnel and evacuated due to his wounds; he said he was absolutely and utterly terrified during the battle and so he fell back on his upbringing and he promised God that if he would let him live he would serve Him for the rest of his life. Arnold survived the war and fulfilled his promise working for the Seventh Day Adventist Church until his retirement circa mid 1960’s.
It took a nation to shoulder the burden of the war on this land and, united in grief, it was the first time that people collectively thought of themselves as New Zealanders. That we lost so many fine men who were unable to pass on and produce the next generation was a tragedy. Many returned and did their best to carry on that burden.
We that are left who grow old carry the hopes for the next generation. Will our generation be worthy to call ourselves honourable and worthy sons and daughters of those fine ANZACS?
What difference will you, the Year 7-13 Classes of Longburn Adventist College of 2015 make in changing your world, in making a difference, in serving others, in the years 2015 – circa 2100 because many of you will live to 100. Life expectancy in 1915 was closer to 50 than 100. The freedom they gave us and the advancements we have made in the intervening years have extended our lives two fold. What double dose of reparation are we going to do to add value to their sacrifice?
The rest is up to us. I’m sure that together we can make them proud of us. With a few simple steps we can and will indeed honour their sacrifice by making our world better. The rest is indeed up to us. Good luck.
NO REIRA, TENA KOUTOU, TENA KOUTOU, TENA TATOU KOUTOU KATOA
Colonel Paul King, LAC Chapel, 24 April, 2015