Monday, 20 August 2018
Statements by Members
Vietnam Veterans Day
I rise today to pay tribute to Australia's Vietnam veterans. Every year on 18 August we commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day. This year I attended Vietnam Veterans Day in Berri at the recently revamped Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. In the history of Australia's involvement in that war, 18 August is a significant day. Originally known as Long Tan Day, it was on this day in 1966 that 108 Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought a battle against over 2,000 North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops in a rubber plantation near the small village of Long Tan. In torrential rain, over a period of four hours, the Australians prevailed. Sadly, 18 Australians lost their lives and 24 were seriously wounded. It was the largest number of casualties in one operation since the Australian task force had arrived a few months earlier.
This battle was a great success, but one that came at a great cost. The Riverland Vietnam Veterans Association commemorate this day each year with a service at the Berri Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. I was honoured to lay a wreath and pay my respects in Berri on Saturday. I acknowledge the efforts of President Max Binding and committee members Rob Kemp, Robert Manuel and Roger Nettle.