Memorial Service - Ko tātou, tātou - We are one
Today I went to the National Memorial Service for the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attacks at mosques two weeks ago, along with thousands of others.
A very moving and emotional day. Speakers included Farid Ahmed who lost his wife in the shootings. He said he "didn't want to have a heart that is boiling like a volcano. A volcano has anger, fury rage - it doesn't have peace, it has hatred. It burns itself from within, and it burns the surroundings. I want a heart that is full of love and care, and full of mercy, a heart that will forgive lavishly."
He received a standing ovation as did our PM Jacinda Adern before she even finished her Maori greeting. I felt very fortunate to have a PM who can put into words what we were all feeling, but could not express adequately. She finished her speech by quoting from our National Anthem.
"Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place
God defend our free land
From dissension, envy, hate
And corruption, guard our state
Make our country good and great
God defend New Zealand"
It is a long time since I have heard all the verses of our anthem sung. Today singing it first in Maori then English, I felt everyone there took more notice of the words they were singing.
The photo I have chosen is of our PM Jacinda Adern talking to a young muslim girl, a relative of the shooting victims. You can also see the beautiful Maori cloak, that she previously wore to meet Queen in London.
There was a lot of security, police from NZ and Australia, international protection service personal and many others. With our seats right at the front, I felt a little nervous when several looked at their devices at the same time, then conferred together. See photo in extras with officers in foreground, I have put a circle around where we were in crowd....a long distance selfie.
Thank you Daring2Go for inviting me to join you.