Vietnam Veterans’ Day 2016
This year we commemorated “VIETNAM 50 Years On”
and the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
To Watch a 52 minute video of the full Service: CLICK HERE
To watch a 5 minute slide show of the Service: CLICK HERE
The Highlands turned on a beautiful spring day for our commemorations and it was heartening to see a good crowd.
Prior to the service the RSL Rural Commemorative Youth Choir entertained the assembly with some fine singing.
The commemorations commenced with the mounting of the catafalque party and rousing parade of Veterans proudly marching along the Cherry Tree Walk to the music of the Highlands Pipes and Drums. The parade was led by a Guard of Honour from the Army Parachute School, the Pipes and Drums with the Veterans following behind our banner.
After the gathering assembled the RAN provided a flyover of helicopters from the RAN’s 723 Squadron, with the sounds of Vietnam echoing in the hearts of the Veterans.
Our President, Phill Moscatt opened the Memorial Service. Terry Lemcke addressed the centenary of World War 1, particularly the Battle of Fromelles. Norm Austin then spoke about the Battle of Long Tan and some of its legacies. Surprisingly at this stage a Caribou aircraft from HARS flew over the ceremony.
Our Guest Speaker was Colonel Retired John Hopman, Representative Colonel Commandant, Special Operations Engineers Regiment of the Australian Army. John, a Vietnam Veteran, spoke about the war in Vietnam and the Battle Of Long tan. He told us about the 80,000 Australian servicemen and servicewomen who have been deployed overseas in peacemaking and peacekeeping operations and other activities since the Vietnam War and who continue to serve in these challenging times.
Our School Speakers this year were Georgiana Kelleher and Annabel White representing Frensham. They confidently spoke about the two parallel journeys since the war in Vietnam: that of the Australian public and that of the Vietnam Veterans. On the one hand, the increasing recognition by the Australian public of the service and sacrifices made by Vietnam Veterans and their loved ones during the war and on the other hand, the ongoing struggle of Veterans and their loved ones to deal with the consequences of the war.
The lilt of bagpipes made the wreath laying ceremony a particularly moving occasion as did Duncan Reay’s rendition of the Last Post.
The service concluded with the Youth Choir surprising us with a rendition of the second verse of our National Anthem.
The Southern Highlands Vietnam Veterans Peacemakers and Peacekeepers Association would like to thank all those who participated in our Memorial Service:
Our Guests of Honour
Our Guest Speakers
The Army Parachute School
The RAN 732 Squadron and Flag Marshal
The Highlands Pipes and Drums
The RSL Commemorative Youth Choir
The Historic Aircraft Restoration Society
Padre John Wheeler
And last but not least – Visiting Vietnam Veterans