Ryman Healthcare's Stories of Valour tribute book has been published and is with the villages and residents, libraries and RSAs in time to commemorate Anzac Day.
It is the seventh edition of the book which began as a small booklet and has grown to a 188-page bound book, which this year features the wartime memories of 67 Ryman residents.
The special commemorative books have been produced to tell our residents' stories and mark the special day in New Zealand and Australia.
The collection of residents' stories is remarkable and diverse and demonstrates the various ways conflict affected our people from volunteer civilians to the military.
As an annual publication, which initially began with residents’ World War II memories, it now encompasses residents who share their memories of Malaya, Borneo, Korea and Vietnam as well as those who served and volunteered on the home front.
We've gathered a lot of stories over the years and it is an absolute privilege to be there to hear them.
Some residents feel it is time they told their story; for many this is the first time they have, and tears were shed and families supportive, yet astounded.
From delivering a baby during battle in Italy, being imprisoned in Changi, nursing the wounded back to health or comforting them when there was no longer hope, to narrowly avoiding a kamikaze pilot after Japan had surrendered, everyone’s war was different.
Each experience has been held tightly for a lifetime. Who knows what those young men and woman would have become if war had not seized the best years of their young lives?
And there are happier memories of camaraderie during conflict and the formation of life-long friendships, but a common theme is a sense of loss and sadness, and that war is the most futile of endeavours.
Anzac Day is their day to remember and our special day to honour them, and we hope the book goes some way to repaying the debt we owe them.
Copies of the book have been sent to each village and are available online here: Stories of Valour online
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