Anne-Elise Smithson: What does it mean to you to celebrate / commemorate this day?

Anzac Day is a day for rememberance for those who lost their lives in war. I acknowledge those soldiers who were tragically sent to their deaths, so young. I honour their bravery and can’t imagine what it would have been like, to be within the hell of war. 
But I also hope that we can create a space to commemorate the conscientious objectors who were tortured and imprisoned at worst, and socially excluded – along with their wives and children – for refusing to go to war. I would like to acknowledge that they were brave too. 
A couple of years back, I saw a beautiful piece of theatre, called Tu, that shone a light on the insidious emotional impact of war on New Zealand families, for generations and generations down the line. This play in turn had a massive impact on me. I felt it gave me an insight into our toll (one of the greatest casualty and death rates per capita in the world), on small, rural New Zealand. On the families, communities and cities that lost so many men, all in the name of Empires at war.  
I hope that Anzac Day could be a time to promote peace and international co-operation.
– Anne-Elise Smithson, The Green Party.of Aotearoa New Zealand