Thousands are expected to attend Vietnam Veterans Day services this weekend to recognise Australia’s role in the conflict and commemorate the 521 service personnel who lost their lives.
The Totally and Partially Disabled Veterans WA and Safety Bay Ex Services and Community Club Inc will each host their own Vietnam Veterans Day service on Sunday.
Hosting the service locally for more than 20 years, TPDVWA is completely self-funded and hosts various services throughout the year, including on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the the men of D Company, 6RAR who fought in the battle of Long Tan in 1966.
On that day, 108 Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought more than 2000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops in a rubber plantation not far from the small village of Long Tan.
The Australians prevailed, for the loss of 18 men while inflicting 245 kills, after fighting in torrential rain for four hours.
TPDVWA president Les Crowe said the event not only acknowledged the service and bravery of those who fought in Vietnam, but all those who served the country.
“We think about all those involved in conflict,” he said.
Secretary Fiona Anderson said the service was also a time to pay respect to the Vietnam Veterans who were not initially recognised for their service when they returned home.
Vietnam veteran Allan Hill OAM said on returning home veterans were met by a hostile public, which left many scarred forever.
SBESCCI master of ceremonies Lyndon Jackson said while most people recognised the role of the army during the war, Australia’s navy and air force also played “significant” roles and was keen for people not to forget their part.
The TPDVWA service will be held from 11am at the Veterans Memorial Park in Port Kennedy this Sunday, August 18.
Following the service, a barbecue lunch will be held at the TPDVWA’s headquarters at 1677 Old Mandurah Road in Baldivis and is open to anyone who has served, or is serving, in the Australian Defence Force, or who has served or is serving in the Allied Forces, Peace Keeping Forces or the Australian Police Force, and includes their spouses, partners, war widows and family members.
The SBESCCI service is at 11am at the Vietnam Veterans Rock adjacent to the Rockingham Cenotaph on the corner of Flinders Lane and Kent Street and all are welcome.