When digger Colin Phillips returned from the Vietnam War, few people offered him the honour he deserved.
But 41 years later an entire city stopped to say thank you.
On Sunday more than 100 people gathered at the South-East Asian War Memorial in Ballarat to honour the 60,000 Australian men and women who served during the Vietnam War.
Mr Phillips, who served with the 9th Squadron RAAF, said he was amazed by the number of people who turned out on the weekend to honour his fellow veterans and friends.
“When we first got back we weren’t liked at all… no one would talk to us, as far as they were concerned it wasn’t a war,” he said.
“This (Sunday’s commemorative event) is amazing.
About 50 Vietnam veterans and their families marched along Sturt Street to the commemorative event honouring Australian veterans ahead of Vietnam Veterans Day on Monday.
This year’s Vietnam Veterans Day falls on the 50th anniversary of the major battle at Long Tan.
Guest speaker Narelle Biedermann, whose father fought during the Vietnam War, said Monday was a day to remember the sacrifice veterans made during Australia’s longest war.
“For me Vietnam Veterans Day is all about courage,” she said.
The Battle of Long Tan on August 18, 1966, was one of the most decisive battles in Anzac history, it was also the site of Australia’s heaviest action during the Vietnam War.
108 Anzacs took on almost 2000 NVA and Vietcong, winning the four-hour battle against all odds.
521 Australians died as a result of the Vietnam War between 1962-1972.
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