Service. The Circular Head RSL World War I Centenary Committee commemorated the 50-year anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and national ‘Vietnam Veterans’ Day’ in a felicitous manner last Thursday (August 18).
A memorial service held at Anzac Park, Smithton preceded a luncheon at the Circular Head RSL where local veterans and relatives were invited to attend.
Of the 60,000 Australians who enlisted to serve in the Vietnam War, 44 of those soldiers were from Circular Head.
To recognise these local veterans the committee presented Certificates of Recognition to the servicemen or a representing family member.
Committee member Lizzy Gale said this recognition was long overdue.
“The committee decided to present these in appreciation of their contributions in Vietnam,” she said.
“The main reason was purely because of the way they were treated when they came home.
“We’re so grateful for their sacrifices and they did not receive that recognition initially, it’s very deserving.”
Mrs Gale said three veterans who enlisted elsewhere but today live in the local region were also commemorated.
“Three of these men didn’t actually enlist in Circular Head but are today heavily involved with RSL since relocating and living in Smithton.
“The veterans are so humble and so grateful. They were in awe [of what we had organised], it brought tears to many eyes,” she said.
As well as this gesture, countless hours have been spent throughout the year researching and compiling profiles of local veterans for display at the Circular Head RSL.
“First of all we thought it would be such a good idea to put a photo to the name,” Mrs Gale said.
“We’ve contacted lots of veterans and families, everyone was so giving – there are just so many stories to tell.”