I don’t think today’s generation can ever truly grasp the sacrifices made by previous generations. Today a single solider getting wounded in combat is a front page story.
How would we have coped with wars when the dead numbered not in single figures but in the tens of thousands. When not only did everyone lose someone they knew – everyone lost multiple friends and family.
So today I think of the following New Zealanders:
- The 6,500 who served and 229 who died in the Second Boer War
- The 103,000 who served (over 10% of our population) and 16,697 who died in WWI – the highest casualty rate of any country
- The 204,000 who served in WWII, and 11,625 killed – the highest casualty rate in the commonwealth
- The 1,300 who served in the Malayan conflict, and the 15 who died
- Those who served in the Indonesia-Malaysia conflict
- The 5,094 who served in Korea, and 33 who died
- The 3,890 who served in Vietnam, and 37 who died
- All others who have served
It is hard to comprehend having 42% of service age males, fighting overseas in a war, but that is what happened in WWI.