Veitnam Veterans Day commemorated at Nelson Bay Memorial on 18 August

Russell Durrant at the Nelson Bay Memorial.
Russell Durrant at the Nelson Bay Memorial.

 

TOMAREE High School students will make a significant contribution at this year’s Vietnam Veterans Day service in Nelson Bay.

The Kitchen Centre – Port Stephens
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Students will participate in the 11am service on Friday, 18 August, to take place at the Nelson Bay Memorial in Apex Park by providing flag bearers, the official address and the Oath.

Nelson Bay RSL Sub Branch secretary Russell Durrant, himself a Vietnam veteran, said the service would commemorate the hundreds of Australians who died in the decade-long war.

“We are privileged to have young school students not only attend the service but make a contribution on the day,” Mr Durrant said.

“It is important that the lessons of the Vietnam War be passed on to the younger generations. Padre Rev Frank Duffy will officiate.

“The service traditionally does not go beyond 15 or 20 minutes, and afterwards all are invited back to the Diggers Club for refreshments.”

Mr Durrant said this is the 51st anniversary of the conflict and hoped it could replicate the large numbers who attended last year’s momentous 50th anniversary.

He estimated there are up to 100 Vietnam veterans residing across Port Stephens, including around 50-60 on the Tomaree peninsula.

“The RSL Sub-Branch offers welfare and pension support and are always willing to help veterans who need it.

“I was conscripted and served for two years in 1966-67 with the 5th Battalion RAR and after 30 years of civilian work I suffered post trauma stress disorder. It can hit anyone and no-one should suffer in silence.”

Previously known as Long Tan Day, the remembrance service is dedicated each year on 18 August to commemorate a battle, reported as one of the heaviest in the Vietnam conflict, fought by D Company 6RAR against the might of the Viet Cong.

The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest military engagement, involving more than 55,000 troops and over 500 deaths.

 

By Charlie ELIAS

 

Russell Durrant at the Nelson Bay Memorial.
Russell Durrant at the Nelson Bay Memorial.

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