Remembering Long Tan

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Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
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Geraldton Returned and Services League will honour Vietnam veterans at a commemorative service at Birdwood House this afternoon.

Vietnam Veterans’ Day marks events in 1966 when 108 Australian soldiers defeated a big North Vietnamese force at the battle of Long Tan, which was fiercely fought on a rubber plantation in Phuoc Tuy Province of South Vietnam.

RSLWA Midwest publicity officer Ken Morris said it was important to remember those who lost their lives in the service of Australia in the Vietnam conflict.

He said Geraldton was home to “quite a few” Vietnam veterans, with about 50 to 60 expected to attend the service. But he estimated there were probably more in the community who would not attend.

“Many vets, particularly Vietnam vets, do not attend because they were treated shamefully on their return from Vietnam — mostly by left-wing elements of the population,” he said.

“Many were spat on and verbally assaulted for doing what their country ordered them to do and many have never got over it.”

He said the service would include an address by Geraldton RSL president Ian Heberle about Australia’s involvement in the war.

The Ode of Remembrance would be recited, before a reflective period of silence and the laying of a wreath. Mr Morris said there would be a barbecue at the RSL club after the service.

“Many of those attending will stay for the barbecue and share a few beers with old comrades,” he said.

The service will start at 4pm at the Geraldton RSL Club on Chapman Road.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

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