Passchendaele is remembered

First, listen to October 10th

A commemorative service was held in Belgium this morning to remember the soldiers who died at Passchendaele. A Maori waka together with a Belgian rowing boat arrived together at the beginning. Some of those Maori paddling the waka were relatives of soldiers who had died at Passchendaele. The Maori then performed a haka.

The field where so many soldiers died is now farmland and it’s hard to believe it was once a place where so many men were trapped in the mud and died in the mud.

About 5,000 people were present at the commemorative service this morning and this included hundreds of New Zealanders who had travelled to be there today. Although many of the graves in the cemetery have no names or country to identify who is buried there, a wall nearby contains the names of those soldiers who died.

Tonight there will be a sunset ceremony in Belgium and Prince William will give a speech.

Meanwhile in New Zealand today, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch held services to remember this darkest day. The Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy, was present at the National War Memorial in Wellington where a wreathe was laid at the foot of the memorial.

Vocabulary

• commemorative (adj), commemoration (n) – a ceremony to remember a sad event
• waka (Maori) – big canoe
• haka (Maori) – war dance
• wreathe – plants, leaves or flowers in the shape of a circle, often used in a funeral
• foot – the bottom part of a structure






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