Story and pictures by Alistair Gray
About 170 Vietnam Veterans and Bribie residents stopped to remember all who had served in Vietnam, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice or who have suffered since their return home. It was a very special moment for many veterans as they remembered their friends.
Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA), Bribie Island Sub-branch President, Rod Devenish-Meares welcomed everyone to this commemorative service. Next, Chaplain Reverend Pierre Von Blommestein read the prayer for the Fallen, and Patron of the VVAA Bribie Island, Major General David Ferguson (Retired) addressed everyone and read the prayer for the Queen. Peter Jackson followed, reading the Prayer for the Nation, and then official guests and others laid wreaths at the memorial. As the Last Post played, flags were lowered, followed by a minute of silence and the saying of the Ode.
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them.
Less We Forget
The flags were raised, and Roust played, with the service coming to an end. It was a very poignant few minutes as tears welled up, and you couldn’t help but feel the emotion of the occasion. Afterwards Veterans and spouses retired across the road to the Bribie RSL for a few drinks and a reunion dinner.
More than 60,000 Australians served in the Vietnam War, with 3000 wounded and 521 losing their lives. Vietnam day is nationally recognised and commemorated around the country, and not only remembers the sacrifices made but is very much about healing and reconnection of past comrades. August 18 also marks the 56th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 1966, a significant battle during the conflict.