Serving our RSA's

Column Articles
Monday, April 18, 2016

I was asked by the Mount RSA on Saturday to open their new Fox Hole, family orientated café.  It was a special occasion that gave me pause to reflect on the value RSA members give to their community.  As a nation and as a community we focus on their service to our country in foreign fields in both hot and cold theatres of war.  Their sacrifice was selfless  and its right we honour them as we do with our solemnity on Anzac morning.  However,  I think we should also honour the service they rendered upon their return.  My local Mount RSA was built in 1943 from the returned servicemen’s labour along with those who stayed behind. 

The war generation were the personification of helping a neighbour in need, quietly, understatedly and their culture of service thankfully pervades our community still.  As I looked out of the crowd listening at the RSA I was struck by the years of service and the multitudes of ‘little differences’ their collective acts of kindness and volunteerism have made to our community.  When we salute our returned servicemen and women, we should salute their culture of ongoing, all of life service that they still example today. 

Can I commend to you a visit to the Mount RSA (and its equally impressive Tauranga branch).  It is a welcoming place with extraordinary history covering its walls, from flags, to the names of the fallen, to portraits of the great and good of both those we lost and those who have lived a full life.  But as with all poignant memories they live only in the recollection of the living.  For no matter how impressive a portrait, how striking a regiment flag, they remain silent artefacts lost in history if they are not observed, recollected and remembered by us all.   That’s why, for me, our RSAs are so special.  Increasingly family orientated, getting the mix right of remembrance and relevance that is the true test of any RSA club.  Above all, it’s the people.  Club people, service people, local people who continue to breathe life into our history and our today. Lest we forget, lest we stop striving to emulate.