MEMORIAL: Soldiers with the cross at Long Tan
MEMORIAL: Soldiers with the cross at Long Tan Contributed

Vietnam Veterans Day - Time to reflect on Long Tan

VIETNAM Veterans Day will be commemorated at 11am this Sunday, August 18, at the Byron Bay Memorial gates.

Byron Bay RSL Sub Branch president Robert Asquith, a Vietnam vet, said the day was inaugurated by then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke in 1987 following the Welcome Home Parade.

"This is a day for veterans' families and all Australians to come toge- ther and to remember and reflect on our involvement in the Vietnam War,” Mr Asquith said.

"As we approach Vietnam Veterans' Day this year it is timely that the film Danger Close comes to our cinemas. The film, currently playing at Palace Cinema in Byron Bay depicts the battle of Long Tan in August 1966.

"The film brings the reality of what our veterans' experienced to the screen; the harsh reality of the intense fighting our troops faced against a fierce, determined and well trained North Vietnamese Army, who suffered heavy loss of life against our much better equipped Australian force with artillery, air and armour support.

"Similar battles such as the Tet Offensive in Feb- ruary 1968; Coral Balmoral in April 1968; Binh Ba in June 1969 and Courtney Rubber in March 1971 and other contacts included the same intense fighting as portrayed in the movie.

"This year is also the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba and this battle will be reflected upon at the service.

"During the Vietnam War 521 Australian soldiers were killed in action and 3129 were wounded but the loss of life to the Vietnamese force was far greater.

"The battles of Vietnam produced no winners. With so little gained, the lives lost on both sides remain a human tragedy.”

Light refreshments will be served after the service at the Byron Bay Services Club.