All Blacks and RSA call on New Zealanders to commemorate Armistice Day

Getty Images     10 Nov 2016     Getty Images

The All Blacks, in Italy preparing for their match against Italy on Sunday morning (NZT), recorded special messages of support for all those who have served New Zealand in all conflict and operations over the past Century to draw attention to the commemoration. 


In keeping with the team’s remembrance when touring in the northern hemisphere, the All Blacks will also wear an embroidered poppy on the sleeve of their jersey as a mark of respect.

RSA President BJ Clark says Armistice Day is a day of great historical significance, solemnity and remembrance through-out the world, recognising the day that the First World War officially ended.

“While in New Zealand, Anzac Day is our major day of remembrance, Armistice Day is a major moment of reflection as we call to mind the day when the guns fell silent and all those who served in the Great War and every operation since then.”

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Armistice Day is a day New Zealanders should never forget.

“The significance of what our young men and women have done and are doing to this day is not lost on the All Blacks, because we’re trying to represent our country and make them proud and those people are also representing New Zealand, trying to make it a safer world for us to live in and making us proud in doing so.

Hansen says the team wearing the poppy on the sleeve allows them to say thanks to those people who have given their lives and those people who went to war and served New Zealand in operations overseas and those serving at home.

“It’s our little way of saying, hey, we thank you for that, and we remember you.”

All Blacks captain Kieran Read echoed that sentiment: “On Armistice Day the All Blacks and the RSA are encouraging all New Zealanders to take a moment and think about those who lost their loved ones and the families who carried on.

“The All Blacks will wear a poppy on the sleeve of our jersey in the Test against Italy to remember all those men and women who lost their lives in the World Wars and every operation since. There are many New Zealanders still serving around the world and what they do is fantastic. The time that they spend away makes what we do, in comparison, seem very minor.”

Read says the connection that comes with playing in places such as Italy and France where New Zealanders fought and died is strong.

“So it’s a privilege to carry a poppy on our jersey and in some small way play a part in remembering them.”

The All Blacks will commemorate Armistice Day in a country where New Zealand forces played a prominent role during WWII, notably at Monte Cassino, only a short distance from Rome, where the All Blacks will play on Sunday (NZT). All Black Jack Hardy was killed at Cassino on 19 May 1944 while fellow All Black George Hart lost his life at Sora on 3 June 1944 and is buried at Cassino. They were among 2,100 New Zealanders killed in operations in Italy from 1943 to 1945.

The All Blacks and the RSA are calling on New Zealanders to take a moment this Friday to pause and remember the service and sacrifice of New Zealand service men and women.

As is tradition around Anzac Day, Kiwis can wear a poppy in remembrance. The RSA is also encouraging Kiwis to inquire with their local RSA to find out about any Armistice Day activities which are being organised locally.

About Armistice Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. This took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—famously the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.

As a result, a service and a period of silence is typically observed at 11am. The 11th of November is also recognised as Remembrance Day and Veterans Day in some countries.

In New Zealand, wreath-laying ceremonies mark Armistice Day at the National War Memorial in Wellington and at many local War Memorials throughout New Zealand. As part of these ceremonies, two minutes silence is observed at 11am in memory of those New Zealanders who died while serving their country.

Said BJ Clark: “The honouring of Armistice Day is especially poignant at this time as we remember the Centenary of World War I and all the sacrifices made then and in the years since by our services personnel, their families and communities.

“It is an opportunity for New Zealanders to reflect on all those who have served and continue to serve New Zealand in the armed forces in conflicts since the end of World War I up to the present time, and the impact on their families.”