Victorians will pay tribute to our brave servicemen and women on Vietnam Veterans Day on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
Minister for Veterans John Eren announced that Parliament on Thursday would be suspended until 2pm, allowing Members of Parliament to represent their communities at a special service at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Some 60,000 Australian ground troops, air force and navy personnel served in Vietnam, and more than 500 never returned home. The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest twentieth-century conflict, lasting more than a decade.
At Long Tan, 108 young Australians from D Company 6 RAR resisted an attack of more than 2,000 Viet Cong soldiers. Eighteen Australians were killed and 24 were wounded, but it would become one of the most extraordinary chapters of Australia’s wartime story.
All Victorians deserve an opportunity to pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans. That’s why the Labor Government is helping schools send students to the Shrine. More than 50 schools have secured travel subsidies, while veterans, war widows, ADF members and metropolitan school students can take advantage of free public transport.
Thursday’s service includes performances by the Caulfield South Primary School Drums Corps, Choir Victoria and the Royal Australian Navy Band Melbourne Vocalist. A Long Tan Cross re-enactment, a flyover of three Bird Dog Aircraft and a display of 521 crosses representing those kill in action is also planned.
The Vietnam Veterans Day March begins at the St Kilda Road Police Memorial at 11am before a wreath laying ceremony at noon.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Veterans, John Eren
“Victorians will pause and reflect on the extraordinary contribution our Vietnam veterans made. It’s a solemn day, but a very proud one, too.”
“Our veterans gave us all a great gift. This is our chance to pay tribute and give thanks for their sacrifice.”
“We want all Victorians to have a chance to pay their respects. That’s why we’re helping schools send students to the Shrine, and giving the veteran community free travel on public transport.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020