A SERVICE for Vietnam Veterans Day was held in Bega on Monday to commemorate the lives of those who served.
Ten members from the community and veterans ignored the sporadic rainfall to gather at the Bega Soldiers Memorial Gate for the service, led by Bega RSL sub branch president Barry Stoney.
Pastor Ross Taylor gave a prayer, making note of remembering the families of the servicemen who lost their lives, and the agony they must have gone through.
Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War spanned from 1962-73.
Almost 60,000 Australians served in the war, of whom 521 died and 3000 were wounded.
“Because of the opposition to the Vietnam War and because of small groups returning by air, not all troops received the welcome home they deserved,” Mr Stoney said.
“Slow action by the government and also the RSL meant recognition was delayed until at last on October 3, 1987, when the welcome home march of 25,000 was held in Sydney to say thanks to those who had come home.
“The opening of the memorial on Anzac Parade in 1992 finally paid tribute to those who served and did not return.
“Thanks for coming out, if we can do this we will never forget these fellas.”
While there are 15 names on the Vietnam War plaque at the memorial gates, Mr Stoney said those are just the people who enlisted for the war in Bega itself.
He said a group of Vietnam veterans from the Bega Valley went to the Canberra War Memorial to take part in the ceremony there, part of which was an address by Brett Hunt, the son of well-known veteran Frank.
The date, August 18, was previously known as Long Tan Day, chosen to commemorate the men of the D company 6RAR who fought in the Battle of Long Tan in 1966, where 18 Australians were killed and 24 wounded in the one day.