Vietnam Veterans honoured

Vietnam Veterans Les Allen, Barry Fisher and Steve Mackie.
Vietnam Veterans Les Allen, Barry Fisher and Steve Mackie.

Beaudesert honoured those who served in the Vietnam War in a small, sombre service at the Palm Gardens memorial in Jubilee Park.

Vietnam Veterans, several wives and widows and Kooralbyn RSL Sub Branch representatives attended the Beaudesert RSL Sub Branch Vietnam Veterans’ Day service on 18 August.

Vietnam Veterans, pictured with Beaudesert RSL Sub-Branch volunteer Janice Heit, whose late husband served in Vietnam, were among those who turned out to reflect.

Honouring their service

The service was heartfelt and brief when the Beaudesert RSL Sub Branch hosted its Vietnam Veterans’ Day memorial on 18 August.

On the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 1966, Australians remember the sacrifices of those who died and say thank you to almost 60,000 Australians who served during the 10 years of the nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

In Beaudesert Vietnam Veterans, wives and widows and supporters gathered at Palm Gardens at Jubilee Park to quietly reflect.

Related: The importance of remembering

The Jimboomba and District Cadets formed a catafalque party, Pastor Josh Cocks shared a prayer and Sub Branch Vice President Carol Castles read poems penned by local Vietnam Veteran Lloyd Venz.

Wreaths were carefully laid, President Jon Forbe-Smith read the Ode, the Last Post and Rouse were played and attendees observed one minute of silence and sung the New Zealand and Australian anthems.

Barry Fisher was 17 when he served with the Navy in Vietnam.

“I really don’t think about it a great deal at all. The thing I think most of is that it’s over – that’s me,” he said.

Les Allen was 19 when he served with the Army in Vietnam.

“Remember that song, I was only 19? I can’t listen to that song – it sends shivers up my spine,” he said.

Steve Mackie was 19 when he served with the Army in Vietnam.

“Just the people who were lost, people who were wounded or suffered for life and that also includes all our veterans who suffer with mental illness and PTSD – those are the things I think about the most,” he said.

“They’re the main things to come here today for. Our mates. We’re lucky to be here still.”

Mr Forbe-Smith emphasised remembering all who served.

“We commemorate the 521 Australians who died serving their country; as we should. We remember battles such as Long Tan and Coral; as we should,” he said.

“But we must also remember that war is not fought just at the pointy end. We must remember the contribution made by all those who made up Australia’s participation in Vietnam… Vietnam was a real war, and all of those who served should be very proud that they did.”

Related: The importance of remembering

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