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Vietnam Veterans Day commemorated

Vietnam Veterans Day
Defence Veterans Drop In Centre President Kevin Garnar and treasurer Jessie Garnar at today's Vietnam Veterans Day event.

The Bundaberg community has today paid its respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice as part of Vietnam Veterans Day.

A service was held at the Defence Veterans Drop In Centre on Pitt Street, with residents coming together to commemorate the 56th anniversary of The Battle of Long Tan.

President Kevin Garnar said the club had 85 members with plenty of them in attendance at today's parade.

“We are the only ones in Bundaberg that commemorate the occasion and at this morning's ceremony we had about 83 people attend,” he said.

“This is an important day for our veterans, it helps them come together as one, it helps them deal with their problems.”

Cr John Learmonth attended the event and said he had felt honoured to be part of such a touching ceremony.

“It was a great honour and privilege as Patron of the Defence Veterans Drop In Centre to represent Council at the Vietnam Veterans Day,” he said.

“The event marks the Battle of Long Tan in 1966 which Australian troops, greatly outnumbered by enemy forces, showed amazing courage to repel the enemy.

“A large crowd were today on hand to participate in the service with a fellowship later.”

Vietnam Veterans Day
The community gathers at the Defence Veterans Drop In Centre to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day.

According to the Department of Veterans' Affairs, The Battle of Long Tan was one of the largest battles fought by Australians in the Vietnam War.

“On 18 August 1966, Delta Company, Royal Australian Regiment, fought an ‘encounter' battle to defeat enemy forces in the Long Tan rubber plantation.

“The plantation was only a few kilometres from the 1st Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat.

“D Company suffered 42 casualties, including 18 dead – more than one-third of its strength – and some 245 enemy troops were killed.

“D Company's 105 men and three New Zealanders from 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery, fought for almost four hours against soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army, who outnumbered them by 10 to 1.”

The Battle of Long Tan has become a significant symbol of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, which saw almost 60,000 of the nation's soldiers serve.

More than 520 Australian soldiers died and over 3000 were wounded.

Vietnam Veterans Day
Wreaths were laid at the Vietnam Veterans Day event.