THE HON SHAYNE NEUMANN MP, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BLAIR
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended the Ipswich Vietnam Veterans Day Service with Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann on Friday where he paid tribute to Australian defence personnel involved in our longest conflict of the 20th century.
Mr Albanese was in Brisbane for Labor’s National Conference, but took time out from the proceedings to participate in the commemoration and lay a wreath in honour of Ipswich’s Vietnam veterans.
This year’s memorial had added significance, being the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
The Prime Minister was guest speaker at the ceremony and said Vietnam Veterans’ Day was an opportunity for Australians to acknowledge those 60,000 personnel who served, those whose lives were disrupted by conscription and the 523 families whose loved ones never returned home.
“This year, as we mark the 50th anniversary since the role of Australian troops in the hostilities in Vietnam came to a close, we acknowledge the service and sacrifice made by our veterans.
“Their experiences during and after the war are a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by those who have served our country and the debt of gratitude we owe each and every one of our veterans.
“Many of our troops returned to face new battles at home and not every one of those battles was won. It is important as Australians, we know the stories of service in Vietnam and what our veterans faced when returned home,” he said.
Mr Neumann said the memorial service was well attended by local veterans and ADF personnel, families, schools, community groups, and Vietnamese-Australian community members.
“Many men and women from Ipswich and the Somerset Region served in the war, and went on to make an outstanding contribution to our ex-service and wider community.
“However, this was a war that was at times controversial at home, and for some veterans their service was not recognised as it should have been. So, these commemorations are about giving our veterans the respect they deserve.
“Let us say to our Vietnam veterans, today and every day, we honour you, we thank you and we are sorry that as a nation, it took us so long for us as a nation to do so,” Mr Neumann said.
The Ipswich RSL Sub Branch service was held at the Soldiers Memorial Hall and Honour Stone, and was followed by a march from d’Arcy Doyle Place to Tulmur Place and a morning tea for veterans and families at Club CSI.
18 August is the anniversary of the 1966 Battle of Long Tan, which was the single greatest loss of life Australia suffered during the Vietnam War, with 18 Australians killed and 24 were wounded.
In the years that followed, Vietnam veterans gathered to commemorate those lost at Long Tan and the date has evolved to become Vietnam Veterans Day.
To acknowledge the 50th anniversary, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has produced a Commemorative Medallion and Certificate of Commemoration, available to every Vietnam veteran, and the families of Vietnam veterans who have passed away.
For more information about the 50th anniversary or to apply for a commemorative medallion, visit the DVA website: www.dva.gov.au/vietnam50
Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or www.openarms.gov.au