Doves are released at the end of the Vietnam Veterans Day memorial service in Hervey Bay.
Doves are released at the end of the Vietnam Veterans Day memorial service in Hervey Bay. Alistair Brightman

Vietnam veterans march

WITH medals pinned to their chests, more than 70 Vietnam veterans marched along Pialba’s streets to Freedom Park yesterday to hear a moving memorial service marking Vietnam Veterans Day.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bill Titley told the crowd of more than 100 that the casualties did not end in Vietnam and nor did the suffering.

“In the intervening years we have lost many of our comrades in circumstances that can be linked back to their service in South Vietnam – some through their wounds, others through related diseases and illnesses and yet others who succumbed to the unbearable memories and post-traumatic stress,” he said.

“We might sometimes see the costs of war service in the relatively simple terms of death and wounding of servicemen and women, but the human toll is much wider than that.

“We must consider the effects on the parents, partners, children, siblings, extended families, friends and other comrades-in-arms – they too suffer in so many ways.”

He said veterans shared a common bond forged through adversity, even though their individual experiences varied.

“We are proud to call ourselves Vietnam vets,” Lt Col Titley said.

“We belong to a unique club that has no entry fee, there can be no new members, it cannot expand, sadly it can only contract.”

He said veterans would have felt pangs at the recent loss of another soldier in Afghanistan as it took them fleetingly back to South Vietnam.

A memorial service was also held in Maryborough at the cenotaph in Queens Park.

Vietnam Veterans Day evolved from Long Tan Day commemorating the Battle of Long Tan, one of the bloodiest battles of the war in which 18 young Australians died and many were wounded.



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