Gympie's Sunday remembrance for Vietnam veterans
VIETNAM Veterans Day commemorations, in Gympie on Sunday will be an early opportunity to acknowledge the contribution made by people who were not acknowledged at the time.
Veterans included conscripts and volunteers, abused on their return by a society which most now recognise was in teh wrong.
Australia was a society that sent them to war, belittled their contribution and denied them the appreciation and benefits which most now see as the legitimate entitlement of all returned service personnel.
Veterans suffered unrecognised post traumatic stress problems, as did their families.
Suicide rates among veterans and their offspring were one tragic sign.
Vietnam Veterans Association Gympie Sub-Branch president Ivan Friske says the one day of the year set aside for Vietnam veterans comes up again on Friday, but the day is traditionally observed in Gympie region on the Sunday before, so most people have more chance to attend.
That is this weekend.
August 18, as Mr Friske points out, was originally called Long Tan Day, to commemorate the enormously significant battle in Vietnam on that date in 1966.
"However, the government in 1987 changed this day to Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day, now shortened to Vietnam Veterans Day.
"Whilst this date is very important to those associated with Long Tan, it is equally important that on this day all Vietnam veterans are acknowledged,” he said.
"Here in Gympie, a memorial service has been held each year since the 1980s.
"whist the actual date of the anniversary is the 18th, the Gympie service is held on the Sunday prior to that, unless the 18th lands on a Sunday.
"This year the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, August 13, in Memorial Park adjacent to the rotunda, starting at 3pm.
"Vietnam veterans, their families and friends, other ex-service personnel, serving members of the defence forces and members of the public are invited to participate.
"Following the service, those attending are invited to join the afternoon tea served by the Salvation Army,” Mr Friske said.
WHEN: Sunday August 13
WHERE: Memorial Park rotunda
WHAT: Vietnam Veteran's Day Gympie commemorations.