On August 19 this year, three members of the New Zealand Army were killed while serving in Afghanistan. Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and 21-year-old Private Richard Harris were part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan Province when their vehicle was hit by an IED. After a memorial service for the three fallen soldiers at their home base back in New Zealand, their comrades honored them with something I have never seen before, a funeral haka, before they left the base for the final time.
The New Zealand Defense Force explains:
Haka is used throughout New Zealand by many, not only Māori, to demonstrate their collective thoughts. There is a haka for each of the Services, as well as the Defence Force. Units with the NZ Army have their own haka. This video shows the soldiers of 2/1 RNZIR Battalion performing their Unit haka, powerfully acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades as they come onto the Unit's parade ground. It is also an emotive farewell for they will leave via the waharoa (the carved entrance way) for the very last time.
Even without understanding what was being said, I was moved to tears by that video. Amazing.
(via Michael Yon)