The war that haunts them still...
FEDERAL Minister for Veterans Affairs, Alan Griffin, will visit Lismore today for Vietnam Veterans Day.
He will be the official guest at the memorial service this afternoon and again at a dinner this evening.
Vietnam Veterans Day is always held on the Saturday closest to August 18, the date of the Battle of Long Tan.
Today, in Lismore, veterans will march from the old Post Office at 5pm to the Memorial Park in front of the Lismore Memorial Baths.
A wreath will be laid at the Vietnam Veterans memorial, situated a little to the north of the baths entrance.
This will be followed by a veterans dinner at the Lismore and District Workers Club.
According to Sheldon Maher, secretary of the Far North Coast sub-branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association, today's ceremony will honour 60,000 Australians who served in this country's longest war.
“Over the 11 years from 1962 to 1973 nearly 600 Australians were killed and thousands of veterans and their families are still suffering from the effects of the Vietnam War,” he said.
Earlier this year, survivors of the battle of fire support bases Coral and Balmoral recognised 40 years since their horrific firefight.
It remains the largest battle since World War II.
Twenty-six Australians were killed in what became the war's largest and most protracted engagement. More than 2000 Australians were involved.
In total some 60,000 Australian servicemen and women took part in the conflict directly or in logistic support roles.
The war claimed 520 Australia lives, including seven civilians, with 3000 evacuated with wounds, injuries or illness.
Others have since died from war-related injuries or illness.
“Many others,” said Mr Maher, “still bear the physical and mental scars of war.”