of small town and rural New Zealand. While I have lived all over the world I identify strongly with the sense of identity you find outside of our major urban areas ... a respect for others, a respect for values, a willingness to go the extra mile to help when help is needed.
And so it was that last Friday I attended the Armistice Day service in Russell (pop 750) just across the water from Paihia where I live. This is small town NZL at its best. I guess there were upwards of 90 people at the service was held at the entrance to the Russell School. On the pathway leading up to the classrooms there are ten plaques each bearing the name of a soldier from the area killed in WW1. Each plaque was 'guarded' by two senior pupils one of whom wearing the medals of that soldier (an initiative of the Russell RSA). The service was simple and lasted not more than twenty minutes. The speeches were short and to the point ... we remember and honor the fallen. The reading of the Roll of Honour was left to the students ... nice touch.
Great to see Ray Tait, DFC, in attendance. Ray is the Patron of the Russell RSA and one of the few surviving members of Bomber Command.
Afterwards the RSA put on a roast meal (roast meal ... midday!!!!!) for all those attending the service.
You went away secure in the knowledge that Russell knows and respects its history and does what is right.
Well done Russell, well done the Russell School, well done the Russell RSA.