MEMORIES of fallen mates lost recently or lost decades ago came flooding back to ex-servicemen and women at Wagga’s Vietnam Veterans Day commemorative service in the Victory Memorial Gardens.
About 80 people attended Tuesday’s annual service, which falls on the anniversary of the 1966 Battle of Long Tan, one of the greatest feats of Australia’s 10-year involvement in the controversial war.
The 35-minute service began with a minute’s silence for the president of the Riverina sub-branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association, Neville Smerdon, who died on June 29, while in his opening address mayor Rod Kendall noted three sub-branch members had died this year.
The keynote address was delivered by the senior Australian Defence Force officer at RAAF Base Wagga, Group Captain Ross Jones.
“The journey of the Vietnam veterans has been a very difficult one in terms of challenging combat environments and the issues encountered upon their return to Australia,” Group Captain Jones said.
“But they rose to meet those challenges head on and do all that was asked of them.
“For that, we as a nation should be eternally grateful and proud.”
Mr Smerdon’s wife, Sally, was one of those who laid a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
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