SHELDON MAHER, OAM, of Goonellabah, secretary of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Far North Coast Sub-branch, lays a wreath on Saturday to remember fallen soldiers from all wars.
SHELDON MAHER, OAM, of Goonellabah, secretary of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Far North Coast Sub-branch, lays a wreath on Saturday to remember fallen soldiers from all wars. Cathy Adams

Vietnam vets forgotten no longer

THEY were our forgotten soldiers, but on Saturday they marched to remember the price they paid for fighting in the Vietnam War.

Sheldon Maher, of Lismore, was just 20 when he was called up for National Service. He spent two years in Vietnam in the army's signal squad.

Mr Maher said the war was terrible and its veterans were treated horribly when they came home.

“The people blamed us for what happened there,” he said.

Returning soldiers were snuck into Sydney Airport on late-night flights to avoid anti-Vietnam war protesters.

“They gave us civilian clothes and said, 'See you later,'” Mr Maher said.

The Vietnam veterans were not officially welcomed home until 1987.

Mr Maher took part in the Welcome Home Parade in Sydney. “It was a good feeling to finally be recognised,” he said.

Mr Maher said Saturday's Vietnam Veterans Day march in Lismore was part of the healing.

A wreath was laid at Memorial Park in memory of those who have fought in wars.

On Saturday night a veteran's dinner was held at the Lismore Workers Club.

The Lismore branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association holds its march on the Saturday closest to Vietnam Veterans Day on August 18.

About 60,000 Australian servicemen and women served during the Vietnam War in direct or supportive roles.



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