John Macartney lays a wreath in remembrance of fallen friends and comrades on Vietnam Veterans Day.
John Macartney lays a wreath in remembrance of fallen friends and comrades on Vietnam Veterans Day. Max Fleet

Vietnam veterans boost ranks

VIETNAM veterans in Bundaberg are looking to the future by encouraging younger people who have served in uniform to join their association.

John Macartney, volunteer advocate in the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Bundaberg and District Sub-Branch said it was important for the veterans to push control over to the younger members.

“If we don't do that it will be like the Boer War, gone and forgotten,” he said.

“The ranks of the World War II veterans are getting thinner too.”

As Bundaberg's Vietnam veterans turned out yesterday to honour their fallen friends and comrades in a ceremony at Remembrance Park on Vietnam Veterans Day, Mr Macartney said it was an emotional event.

“You remember your mates, and some private memories that you tuck away,” he said.

“You also remember the people who were here last year and are here no longer.”

Mr Macartney said August 18 was chosen as Vietnam Veterans Day because it was the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

“It used to be Long Tan Day, then it was expanded to include all Vietnam veterans,” he said.

Mr Macartney said the ceremony yesterday was really good, with a good turnout of veterans and their families.

“We haven't started falling off the perch at the same rate as the veterans of some of the other wars yet, but we need to foster people from the next generation to get into our ranks,” he said.

“We don't distinguish whether they have been on operational service or not.”

Mr Macartney said the sub-branch's pension and welfare section was happy to help veterans from other conflicts Australia had been involved in.



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