Although I was born in New Zealand and raised here my whole life, I didn’t see how it related to me. None of my relatives fought for the ANZAC’s and every year, it was just another public holiday.
This is why reflecting back on the Young Ambassadors Tour last year, I’m ever so grateful for the opportunity it gave me. While the visit to France and Belgium was somewhat sombre in mood with all the memorial and cemetery visits we did, it was definitely very insightful and important to me as I learnt about the connection New Zealand had with France and various other places around Europe during WWI and WWII; that we’re all some way or another connected with one another.
And today when I attended the ANZAC dawn service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, all these memories rushed back again. The dawn service we attended in Longueval commemorating the centenary of New Zealand’s involvement in the Somme and the familiar places that was mentioned in the speeches, such as Passchendaele that we actually visited during the tour.
By reflecting on this after the dawn service, I feel extremely fortunate to have been part of the Young Ambassadors Tour as we’ve been to the places that our soldiers once fought, where other people may be only familiar by their names. And I will cherish the memories made In France, while still keeping in touch with all the other Young Ambassadors.
Lastly, a big thanks to my French teacher Madame Lallemant! She has been in contact with my French host school that I attended last year and is organising for my high school to visit there during their language exchange later this year.
Here's hoping that more global connections are to be made!