Vets reflect on Long Tan
RSL hosts moving commemoration to mark 50 years since fierce battle in Vietnam
THE Rooty Hill Naval Association has been holding a commemorative dinner to mark the Battle of Long Tan for many years but the 50th anniversary event, last Friday night, was very special.
More than 250 people attended the event at Rooty Hill RSL to remember the sacrifice of soldiers at one of the fiercest fights Australians have seen since World War II.
Organising committee chairman Robert Cooper, who served on HMAS Brisbane during the Vietnam War, said he was pleased to see more people, including veterans, commemorating Vietnam soldiers.
“It is important – it wasn’t until 1987 that we even had a welcome home parade,” Mr Cooper said.
Robert Bradley, who served in the army in Vietnam, delivered the main speech on the night, detailing the Long Tan battle.
Poppies were laid in front of pictures of the 18 Australians who died during the battle, while commemorative medallions for the 50th anniversary of the battle were presented to those in attendance and others will be sent to the families of those who died.
“The 50th was a milestone for the people of our area,” Mr Cooper said. “Everyone enjoyed themselves and were very pleased with the presentation on the night.”
Mr Cooper said he hoped more substantial Vietnam War memorials would be established in the community.
“I think after the 50th anniversary we will get more people coming along,’’ he said. “There will be more veterans getting involved … not just the Vietnam veterans but all veterans paying their respects to the fallen.”
It is important – it wasn’t until 1987 that we even had a welcome home parade Robert Cooper
Rita Thomas with a photo of her beloved brother Jack Jewry, who died at Long Tan, and (inset) Terry Ryan and Robert Cooper and the famous Cross of Long Tan, which honours losses on both sides of the battle.