ABOUT 100 people gathered at the cenotaph in Robertson Park yesterday afternoon to pay tribute to the brave Australian soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War.
Held on the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam Veterans’ Day offered veterans, their families and friends, and the community the chance to honour the sacrifice made by those killed and wounded in the war.
Orange RSL sub-branch president Lindsay Wright served in the Battle of Long Tan and said ceremonies such as yesterday’s were an essential part of recognising Australian history.
“Let’s not forget that not only did a lot of soldiers die in Vietnam, a lot more were wounded and even more than that were affected both mentally and physically after the Vietnam War,” he said.
“These memorials are important because it allows people of all walks of life to pay recognition to people who sacrificed a great deal for this country.”
His sentiment was shared by member for Calare John Cobb, who addressed the crowd with a heart-felt speech.
“I actually think Long Tan Day, which has become Vietnam Veterans’ Day, is another form of Anzac Day,” he said.
“It’s not about glorifying war, it’s very much about remembering those who didn’t come home, those who were wounded, and those who suffered from it.
“Today is the day we remember Vietnam veterans, national servicemen, and all people who have served anywhere at any time, especially those who haven’t come home. Today we remember them, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
Anson Street School students performed We Are Australian to open proceedings, and concluded the ceremony with the Australian national anthem.