This Friday, August 18 will mark Vietnam Veterans Day, the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and the 42nd year since the end of the Vietnam War.
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President of the Cowra Vietnam Veterans Association, Frank Bridges, said while this year’s commemorations would be slightly smaller then last year’s, they were no less important.
“The basis of the day is the Battle of Long Tan which was one of the biggest battles that Australian forces were involved in, in Vietnam,” he said.
“From 5pm our commemorative service will start, their will be a wreath laying ceremony and the Ode will be recited finishing about 5.30pm followed by light refreshments for the veterans and invited guests in the sub-branch rooms.
“The commemoration is for the Vietnam Veterans Day, for all the service members who served in Vietnam and those who died.
“If there is any private wreaths that people would like to lay on the day they should come along,” he said.
Mr Bridges said the work done by all Australian service men and women should not be forgotten.
“Vietnam veterans now are senior members of the community,” he said.
“They would have to be over 65, it’s been over 55 years since the Vietnam War started and at that stage Vietnam had been the longest War, Australia had been involved in.
“We shouldn’t forget the service men or women that have served since Vietnam in many varied places and are still doing so.
“They should be revered in our community for doing a dangerous job on behalf of the community,” he said.
On August 18, 1966, 108 Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought a pitched battle against over 2,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops in a rubber plantation not far from the small village of Long Tan.
The Australians prevailed, but only after fighting in torrential rain for four hours.
They were nearly overrun, but were saved by a timely ammunition resupply, accurate artillery fire from the nearby Australian base, and the arrival of reinforcements by armoured personnel carrier.
Eighteen Australians lost their lives and 24 were wounded, after the battle the bodies of 245 enemy soldiers were found, but there was evidence that many more bodies had been carried away.
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