The Prime Minister of NZ is in Washington at the moment and has announced that a detachment of US Marines will visit NZ next year to mark the 70th aniversary of the arrival of the US Marine corp to NZ during the second world war.
I am sure many of you will know that the US marines who launched the Island hopping campaign in WW2 mostly left from NZ and Australia.
This will be the first visit to NZ by a US military branch since NZ went Nuclear free in the early 1980's (except for the Antarctic flights) so it is a big deal and I hope they come to Auckland so I get a chance to see them.
My late father in law always told us how the Marines were housed in huts in Victoria Park, just down the road from his family home. He used to hang around outside as a kid and the marines would often give out candy and other treats to the all the kids, he never forgot those men and always had fond memories of the USMC. A marine friend of his asked us to include in his casket a slip of paper with the words "Semper Fi Mac" on it and I know he would have been very pleased and honoured by this.
I for one look forward to the visit.
All the best.