My dear friend, the Countess Stepperg, brought this to my attention.
On 19 August an IED strike took the lives of three New Zealand troops in Afghanistan. Lost were Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Private Richard Harris, 21, and Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, medic.
Jacinda was the first female New Zealand soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Officials released a video of their unit performing a Maori haka, a type of posturing dance with chanting, that met the funeral cortege. It is described as such:
Haka --sometimes termed a posture dance could also be described as a chant with actions. There are various forms of haka; some with weapons some without, some have set actions others may be 'free style.' Haka is used by Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand) for a myriad of reasons; to challenge or express defiance or contempt, to demonstrate approval or appreciation, to encourage or to discourage, to acknowledge feats and achievements, to welcome, to farewell, as an expression of pride, happiness or sorrow. There is almost no inappropriate occasion for haka; it is an outward display of inner thoughts and emotions. Within the context of an occasion it is abundantly clear which emotion is being expressed.
This video is powerful - and absolutely beautiful. The emotions of grief, mixed with honor, mixed with defiance that death is never a defeat is indeed "abundantly clear" here.
Eternal rest grant them, oh Lord. May perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the fallen warriors who fight for freedom and justice, rest in peace through the mercy of God. Amen. (+)