One of the most well-known Australian engagements of the Vietnam War was the Battle of Long Tan, 18 August 1966. The battle saw the action of 108 ANZACS against a Viet Cong (North Vietnamese) force estimated between 1,500 and 2,500. The Battle was one of the heaviest conflicts of the Vietnam War as well as one the few battles in the recorded history of the world to be won against such odds.
Vietnam Veterans’ Day, celebrated in Australia on 18 August each year, commemorates the Battle of Long Tan and those Australians who served during the Vietnam War and is an opportunity to remember those who did not come home.
One of the reasons I started Aussie Heroes was because of the way our Vietnam Veterans were treated when they came home from the war. Although I was only young at the time, my family sat down to dinner each night in front of the news so I remember the articles from the war correspondents, the broadcasts of the protests and all the shameful things that happened to our troops on their return home. I may have only been young, but I remember feeling, way back then, that it was terribly wrong to blame the troops when the politicians made the decisions. I have also come to understand the shame of what was NOT done to honour these veterans. As I said, that was one reason I started Aussie Heroes. I never want our troops, and they are OUR troops, regardless of whether we know them personally or not, to feel that they are not appreciate, respected and cared about again.
Hence our motto “We care about the people, not the politics or the mission.”
In the lead up to Vietnam Veteran’s Day I would like to publish some posts about the Vietnam War but I need your help. I don’t have time to research the subject well enough to write one post, let alone several. My priority has to be getting quilts and laundry bags to our troops on deployment. I am hoping that some of you might help with some writing.
Maybe you have a story about your loved one that you are willing to share. In fact this is a great place to record the stories of your family’s military experiences as our blog is being archived in perpetuity by the Australian War Memorial so your story will never be lost.
Perhaps you have a memory of those days yourself… perhaps you watched your father deploy or saw him come home.
Maybe you are a veteran yourself and would be willing to share some memories. Of course I know there are many veterans who do not want to talk about, let alone write about, their experiences, but I am hoping some might. Sixty years is a long time and there will be readers, younger than I, who would be educated by reading what you might have to say.
Maybe you are a history buff and would like to write a post for me. That would be wonderful as I am loathe to write a post myself without doing enough research to make sure that what I publish is accurate and I can’t do that and run Aussie Heroes as well.
I know some of you won’t want to stir up old memories and pain and I respect that. This is for those who are comfortable with doing this. I do not want to cause any more pain or bring painful memories to the surface.
If writing for us is something that you would like to do please let me know. If you wish to write about your personal experiences, or those of a relative or loved one, then just send your piece to me when you are ready. If you would like to write about a specific event, for example the battle of Long Tan, please let me know before you start writing as we won’t want too many posts on the same subject so it will be first in best dressed.
Of course it may be that none of you are comfortable/interested in writing for us but I don’t know till I ask so I am putting it out there.
Blog posts need to be submitted to me by 1 Aug 2016 in a word document.
It is much more interesting if each post has at least one photo, preferably more.
If photos are provided they need to be in jpg format. If there is a specific place in the text where a photo should be place then I will explain what I need you to do when you contact me.
If it makes you more comfortable, I am happy for personal stories to be shared anonymously.
Hopefully I can look forward to hearing from at least a few of you.
Till next time……………..keep spreading the word…. and please think about contributing.