Modern veterans were honoured in a welcome home parade at South Auckland's Pukekohe. Organisers Returned Services Association (RSA) Franklin say it's fitting to celebrate Aotearoa's returned service people and remember those who've fallen in recent conflicts and old wars this Remembrance Weekend, following yesterday's Armistic Day.
Returned service people were honoured on wheels by the Military Motorcycle Club, and on foot by the local pipe band, veterans and whānau, like Joe Shelford-Tuki from Te Kaha.
“It's a proud moment for myself my family and my grandfather who fought in the war, Charlie Shelford.”
The occassion was particularly poignant for the family of SeSAS commando Corporal Douglas Grant who was shot dead in Afghanistan in 2011.
Widow Tina Grant says, “It's a time to celebrate what our boys and girls have done. But it's also a time to reflect and remember the fallen, and obviously my husband was one of those people.”
Tina’s son Jayden says, “When I was little I always thought about hero’s being like batman and superman being real, and to me dad is my batman and my superman.”
New Zealand's Defence forces have served in peacekeeping missions in various conflicts. RSA Franklin President, Shelly Boyes says today is about them.
RSA Franklin President Shelly Boyes says, “It was seen as a way to welcome home those modern veterans that have served that perhaps haven't been welcomed back yet.”
To conclude Remembrance Day, the gathered will watch a documentary called, Afghanistan: The Soldiers Story, by cameraman Coporal Aaron Horrell, who took part in today's parade.