Ride to honour the fallen
A Vietnam veteran from Meadow Springs will take off on a unique ride this Saturday, with 71-year-old Rob Eade set to begin a three-year journey which will see him lay flags across Australia in honour of those who have perished in combat.
Mr Eade will lay flags at war memorials in every town where a Digger from Vietnam through to present conflicts paid the ultimate sacrifice, either in the town they enlisted or the town of their birth.
Travelling with his trusty companion Ginge, a red heeler, Mr Eade’s journey is fully self-funded and will see him lay about 600 flags during a journey which is expected to last almost three years.
The first known ride of its kind in Australian history, Mr Eade said he was inspired by a video of American man Mike Ehredt, who ran across the United States laying a flag every mile for each life lost in the Afghanistan conflict.
“He’s laid over 6550 flags,” Mr Eade said.
“He ran a marathon every day for 81 days to complete his task and by the end of the video I had tears in my eyes seeing him do it.
“Nobody has ever thought of doing it in Australia, so I thought to myself I’m going to do this.”
Originally from Cessnock in New South Wales, Mr Eade served 21 years in the Australian army as a cook.
He spent almost 12 months in Nui Dat during the Vietnam War and reflects gratefully on the fact he made it through the conflict unscathed, but never forgets those who lost their lives.
“I was a cook, I was lucky,” he said.
“I did have to perform other duties — I’ve done a couple patrols and they were expected of us.
“They weren’t big ones but they did scare me, not knowing what was going to happen.
“But I’m still here and there are 520 of us that didn’t come home.”
His ride will also coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
Mr Eade will start his journey in Baldivis from the Totally and Partially Disabled Veterans Clubhouse on Saturday at 9.30am.
Members from the Rockingham Sub Branch of the Military Brotherhood Military Motorcycle Club will join him on his way down to Collie.
After laying flags in the South West, Mr Eade will then travel to Kalgoorlie before crossing the Nullarbor into South Australia to continue his journey across the Eastern States.
Vietnam veteran Rob Eade and his trusty companion Ginge will depart this Saturday on a three-year journey laying flags at war memorials around the country to honour those who lost their lives in combat.