Friday was a “very special day” for Vietnam veterans, according to a veteran’s motorcycle club member.
Slew Brzeski, from Vietnam Veteran’s Motorcycle Club, said Vietnam Veterans Day was 110 per cent more important to him than other commemorations.
“Paying your respects on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day is one thing, but today, being Vietnam Veteran’s Day, makes it our own thing,” Mr Brzeski said.
“It’s lovely to see the amount of people who turned up compared to a lot of our blokes, the Vietnam veterans, who came home unrecognised.
“It has taken a long, long time to get recognition of what we did in Vietnam compared to any other conflict.”
Held at Royal Park, more than 150 people attended the service, including widow Valerie Ferguson.
“I think it’s very important they’re not forgotten,” Ms Ferguson said.
Vietnam Veteran’s Association Launceston sub branch president Kerry McCormick said the day was about including everyone.
“It was formally known as Long Tan Day, but the name was changed to Veterans Day to include everyone,” Mr McCormick said.
“It’s a remembrance, a show of respect and mateship.”
Vietnam Veterans Day commemorations are underway in Launceston. https://t.co/vRySJBZGDE— Tarlia Jordan (@tarliaj14) 18 August 2017
The service heard from a number of guest speakers about the day means to them.
Vietnam Veteran’s Association state president Brian Harper said without support from the community the veterans would have had a harder fight.
“We are here together … we’ve tried to help the community understand what we went through and we will continue to do so,” Mr Harper said.
Riverside High School choir sang True Colours to the crowd, and another student, Jessica Faulkner, read a poem. Attendees also heard from City of Launceston mayor Albert Van Zetten.
After the ceremony, the RSL served a lunch and held a dedication to the veterans.
“What we do is get photos of past Vietnam veterans and put them on the wall with the date they died,” Mr McCormick said.
“This day is very important. It’s the same as the World War l and World War ll diggers. They used to have their own get togethers at different times. We do this to show respect to our fallen mates that served with us in Vietnam.
“We will not forget them.”
It was the 51st Vietnam Veteran’s Day.