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Letter: Remembering the Vietnam War, 1962-73

THE letter was moved from one side of the kitchen table to the other and back again. “It is addressed to you, so you open it,” my father said. My brother was sweating bullets as it was his conscript letter from the Department of Defence to go to Vietnam – a lottery no one really wanted to win.

He did not. Many others did, two friends of his did. One had his legs blown off and committed suicide. The other had lifelong shrapnel wounds. The price of war. Coming up on August 18 it is the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam in 1973.

On their return Vietnam diggers were treated appallingly. Some were spat on, called baby killers, or ignored. Memorials had red paint splattered all over them. Those men need recognition and respect for doing a job that government mandated. Let’s not forget them.

Jannie Fahey and I will hold a small wreath-laying service together with an address featuring two special Vietnam veteran stories. The wreath laying will be followed by an address by Jannie and myself. The time will be noon.

Any person who has a connection to these Vietnam veterans or just wishes to show their respect, please step up and come to the cenotaph outside the Derwent Valley Council chambers to remember these young men at noon on August 18, Vietnam Veterans Day.


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