A SMALL service gathered at Port Macquarie's cenotaph on Sunday, August 18 to commemorate our Vietnam veterans and their service.
The ceremony was led by special guest John Snare who was OC of 85 Transport Platoon 1969 and served in the RAASC and RACT in the army before retiring as a Colonel in 2010.
Mr Snare referred to the public attitude towards Vietnam veterans in the early days and that many were directed not to wear their uniforms in public.
He said it is now gratifying that current servicemen and women and veterans are now appreciated by the Australian public and our politicians.
"It was a conflict not of our choosing, it was of that of the politicians of that time and that was not recognised," Mr Snare said.
In October 1987, Vietnam veterans were finally welcomed with Australia-wide parades.
At the direction of then Prime Minister Bob Hawke, August 18 would be set aside for Vietnam Veteran's Day to commemorate the Battle of Long Tan.
"The casualties of this battle were the greatest suffered by Australia," Mr Snare said.
"While all Australian battalions fought in many battles in their deployments, Long Tan is the most notable in terms of the relative strength of the combatants, the intensity of the battles, the casualties inflicted on both sides and its outcome of the Australian victory.
"While not on the scale of Gallipoli or Kokoda, that battle demonstrated the Australian soldier in Vietnam served with the skills, effectiveness and courage of their predecessors who had established the spirit of Anzac.
"Vietnam is another chapter in Australia's history were the Australian soldier was given a task and performed it with courage and skill and without complaint to achieve our national goals."
More than 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam and 521 lost their lives. More than 3,000 soldiers were wounded and countless more still live with the psychological scars of the war to this day.