August 21 - 27, 2016: Issue 277

Vietnam Veterans (Northern) Day 2016

On Sunday August 14 Vietnam Veterans (Northern) held their annual Commemorative Service. 

Vietnam Veterans (Northern) Day is also an annual get together for many of our resident and visiting Veterans of this conflict - good food and good beer always follows the formal part of the day.

President of Palm Beach RSL Sub-Branch Mark Ferguson and President of Vietnam Veterans (Northern) Peter Rumble conducted the Service that followed the March from Palm Beach’s Pittwater Park to the cenotaph.

Attending this year were Veterans from Forrestville, Balgowlah- Seaforth-Clontarf and Dee Why RSL’s as well as Members of Pittwater, Avalon Beach and Palm Beach RSL sub-branches.

Mr. Ferguson’s Prologue
On this day above all days we recall those who, in the great tragedy of war, gave their lives in the battlefields of Vietnam. Names such as Coral, Long Hais and Long Tan live forever, never to be forgotten by Vietnam Veterans on this day of Remembrance. 

The Prayer of Thanksgiving and Prayer for the Nation were read by Peter Rumble.
A Prayer for the Queen was read this year by Michael Carrodus (Pittwater RSL Sub-Branch Vice President).

Avalon Public School’s Drum Corps led the March and buglers from the same school gave The Last Post and the Reveille.

Wreaths: Peter Rumble, President Vietnam Veterans Northern, Mark Ferguson, Palm Beach RSL Sub-Branch, Hon. Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater and Patron of Vietnam Veterans Northern, Bronwyn Bishop, Patron of Vietnam Veterans Northern, Dennis Graham, National Services NSW,  Mr. Robin Tapp Forrestville RSL Sub-Branch.

Patrons Addresses – Vietnam Veterans (Northern) Day 2016
Bronwyn Bishop, Patron of Vietnam Veterans Northern
The flowers I placed on the cenotaph today came from a bush of rosemary grown in Australia that was originally from Gallipoli. It seems to be especially pertinent, in this 50th Anniversary of Long Tan, to make that connection between the Spirit of Gallipoli and the Spirit of those who served in Vietnam at Long Tan. 
We all know the history of a nation that let you down, and not the other way round.
We all know how long it took for apologies to be made and recognition to come.
As I have said before, Spirit, Courage, a sense of Service in the men who served at Long Tan and in Vietnam is exactly the same as the Spirit of those who served at Gallipoli or the Western Front during the Second World War.
I did spend one ANZAC Day at Long Tan. Before I did I came to this very club and spoke to Mark and others and asked if it would be appropriate for me to be there, and they stated that it would.
I went and saw the red dust, and the rubber trees, and the Memorial that was being built, and began to feel what had happened there on that day.
I spoke to the people preparing the ground for the ANZAC Day service on the following day and on leaving said to them “I’ll see you tomorrow”
‘No, you won’t.’ they answered, ‘WE can come today but we can’t come tomorrow’ -  it was too much.
The reality of what had been done to them, what they had suffered – the Apology, the Welcome Home March were important, but on this 50th Anniversary of the Servicemen who served in Vietnam, it is the feeling of mateship, of camaraderie which was as evident in that war as it is in a conflict such as Gallipoli.
Your courage, your steadfastness, your fighting for Australia under an Australian flag, is something we can Commemorate and thank you for.
As I placed those flowers of rosemary on that cenotaph today it served as a reminder that your conflict and your sacrifice was as great as any other Australian serving in any other conflict.
I think Australia has now finally come to terms with how we let you down and how we now say, thank you, for your service and sacrifice. 
Please know that we hold you in our very highest regard.
Thank you for allowing me to be your Patron and top speak on your behalf from time to time so that everyone in Australia knows you deserve our love, respect and admiration. 

Hon. Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater, NSW Planning Minister and Patron of Vietnam Veterans Northern
Returned Servicemen, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
I am honoured to be here today as an elected Representative because the people I represent owe all of you a great debt of gratitude to those who served in the Vietnam War.

As Bronwyn articulated, there is a debt owed to everyone who has Served this country both at home and abroad, bit that debt is particularity pronounced when it comes to a person who served in Vietnam because of the way so many were treated by the community on their return.  
In my role I get to attend many functions to Commemorate the Service of Returned Service men and women, but I believe the most important relates to the Commemoration of Service in the Vietnam War, and that is for the reason that we in the community owe you a particular debt of gratitude because of the way so many of you were treated. 
For that, I apologise. 

I also wanted to say, on behalf of the generation that I represent, we are so grateful for the service that you provided, which was every bit as valuable as the Service that was provided by servicemen and women in the First World War, in the Second World War and in other conflicts in the modern age.

The 18th of August this year represents a half century since the Battle of Long Ta, where the D Company of the Sixth Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment under Commander Harry Smith held off a far superior in numbers enemy and resulted in 18 men being killed and 24 being wounded.
What I think constantly needs to be reinforced is that every engagement in which Australians were involved in the Vietnam War was met with success. That is something you should be very proud of and something that everybody in our community should be very grateful for and always remember

Everyone in this room has been affected either on a personal level or through a family member by the Vietnam War. It was a war that had terrible affects on the Australian nation. 
In my own family’s case, my mum’s cousin, a girl who grew up in Avalon, married a School captain who grew up at one of the big Sydney schools, went to Vietnam, and when he returned he took his own life. 
There are so many scars, so many people who have been affected by this conflict, that the community owes you a debt of gratitude that is hard to measure in just words.
I thank you for your Service.
Lest we forget


Photos for attendees own Family Albums are available HERE
A few from last Sunday of those who attended to show their respect and participate follow: