Local board member Janet Fitzgerald sewed herself a poppy over the weekend.
With official Anzac Day commemorations off the calendar for the first time ever due to Covid-19, residents are nevertheless finding ways to honour war veterans and those who serve in the armed forces.
The NZ Defence Force is encouraging people to make and display poppies, as well as to stand at their front gate at dawn (6am) on Anzac Day, Saturday April 25.
On its website, the Defence Force says that even though public Anzac services are unable to go ahead, it does not mean that the tradition of remembering and commemorating veterans and service personnel should be cancelled too.
“This is a time to pay respect and acknowledge the many thousands of our military people who are serving or have served, who are called upon to support New Zealand in times of war, conflict and disasters,” the Defence Force says. “Join us at 6am on Saturday, 25 April. Stand at your letterbox, at the front door, in your lounge rooms, balconies, in your driveway. Wherever you are in the world, stand with us and take a moment to remember our fallen – but please stay within your ‘bubble’.”
Veterans are encouraged to wear their medals just as they would for the official public gathering.
Hibiscus & Bay Local Board member Janet Fitzgerald kicked off the local poppy display initiative at the end of last week.
Janet’s grandfather served in WWI. She worked closely with veterans in her former job as Hibiscus Coast Community RSA’s welfare officer, and is currently a support member of the Silverdale Kings Empire Veterans.
Janet is encouraging Coast residents to make or draw poppies and put them in their windows, or on fences and letterboxes to create an Anzac display.
Janet made her own poppy from fabric and will place it on her letterbox.
She says she is amazed at all the poppies being created by the community.
Artist Alan Smith did compulsory military training in the NZ Army in the 1960s. He has turned his front lawn in Millwater into a display that includes a white cross and poppies.
Alan’s late father served with the NZ Army in the 19th Armoured Regiment in Casino.
“Dad treated Anzac Day as the most sacred day of the year,” Alan says.