Remembering Vietnam

Author:
Anita Jaensch
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Today we remember the courage of the Australians who fought in Vietnam, particularly those who returned home injured or ill and those who never returned home at all.

When 30 Australian military advisers landed in Vietnam in August 1962, few would have guessed that this was the beginning of a conflict would last more than a decade and divide the nation.

Between 1962 and 1973, Australia sent almost 60,000 troops to Vietnam, many of whom were conscripted. In the dense jungles of Vietnam, 521 Australians lost their lives and more than 3,000 were wounded.
The Pipers' lament for the dead of Long Tan during a commemorative service held on the site of the battle, 18th August, 1969.The Pipers' lament for the dead of Long Tan during a commemorative service held on the site of the battle, 18th August, 1969. Image Source: Australian War Memorial (EKN/69/0085/VN) Photographer: C J Bellis
 
Regrettably, significant anti-war sentiment meant those who did return home faced criticism and indifference.
Vietnam Veterans’ Day not only commemorates the participation of Australian troops in the Vietnam War, but also marks the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

Long Tan has taken its place alongside Gallipoli and Kokoda as a definitive moment in Australia’s military history.

In a fierce four-hour battle in torrential rain, 108 soldiers from 6RAR’s D Company held off more than 2,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops until reinforcements arrived. Although they ultimately prevailed, 18 Australians were killed and 24 were wounded.

Lest we forget.



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