Vietnam veterans remember

Vietnam veterans march across Sturt Street on Sunday.
Vietnam veterans march across Sturt Street on Sunday.

VIETNAM veterans marched across Sturt Street on Sunday to mark Vietnam Veterans Day. 

The march was followed by a service, with wreathes laid and respects paid as The Last Post rang out. 

Vietnam Veterans Day is held on August 18 each year to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 1966, when 103 Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought more than 2000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. 

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Ballarat branch president Garry Vapp said it was an important day for ex-servicemen.

Mr Vapp arrived in Vietnam in 1966, just after the battle of Long Tan. 

“(The day) is about remembering those you lost while you were there,” Mr Vapp said. 

He said there were many consequences of war, some which were still coming to light. 

“We lost about 500 and 3000 were wounded,” he said. 

“Up until recently, it’s the longest war Australia has been involved in. 

“We give a special thanks to everyone’s families, because no one came home the same.”

The Ballarat branch has about 100 members. They meet once a month for dinners and have sausage sizzles every fortnight. 

State secretary Peter Bright was this year’s guest speaker. He lived in Ballarat from 1957 to 1969 before he enlisted. 

He said there was support from the Australian public in the early years of the war, but opposition to the war grew as more lives were lost. 

“In the end it could be said that we fought for our mates and not for our country,” Mr Bright said. 

“Many still suffer – whether physiologically or physically.

“We may be getting older, but we don’t forget. For me, it was like it was yesterday.”


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