Church window honours Vietnam's 'forgotten' was veterans
DAVID Bird from Goonellabah spent a year in Vietnam in 1966, but the experience haunted him for the rest of his life.
He was one of 150 Vietnam veterans at St Andrew's Church in Lismore on Saturday, for the dedication of a war memorial stained glass window in their honour.
"We think it's a great idea because it commemorates the service of a lot of people," said Mr Bird.
"And it's good to actually be given some recognition, because that wasn't the case for a lot of Vietnam vets.
"Many weren't received well on their return, so to have something like this in Lismore, in a beautiful church and a magnificent setting, it's a beautiful feeling."
Mr Bird described his year's service in Vang Tau as 'fairly horrific'.
"I had some friends who didn't make it back alive. And a lot came back with psychiatric problems, and I've suffered from them myself," he said.
"Unfortunately it had a lot of impact on the families and kids and it's still on-going. It's something you never forget."
More than 59,000 Australians served in the Vietnam War where almost 600 lost their lives. The window cost $12,000 and the dedication was attended by Minister for Veterans Affairs DeAnne Kelly.
Graeme Davis from Lismore, an infantry soldier in Vietnam in 1966, said for him Saturday was the culmination of a two-year project.
He felt the window was part of the healing process with veterans being invited to come forward and lay wattle branches beneath it.
"Many stood there for a minute or two reflecting on what it meant for them, who they had lost and what traumas and torments they had suffered," he said.