By Justin Flynn
Australians remembered the 55th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, otherwise known as Vietnam Veterans’ Day, on August 18, .
Ocean Grove Barwon Heads RSL sub-branch held commemorative services in both towns to remember the occasion.
Long Tan was the most brutal battle of our nation’s 10-year involvement in the Vietnam War between 1962 and 1972.
On August 18, 1966, 17 Australians died in action at Long Tan and another 25 were wounded. One of these died days later.
The services were small in numbers, with about a dozen people attending each one, but no less heartfelt.
“It was a bit sombre,” Ocean Grove Barwon Heads RSL sub-branch president Brad Clarke said.
“Our Vietnam veterans are starting to get on a bit now.
“We had our last member who served in Korea pass away a couple of months ago.”
After the service, the Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads gatherings met for afternoon tea and a drink or two at Ocean Grove Bowling Club.
“It was good to see a few still come, being a work day and Melbourne in lockdown,” Mr Clarke, who served in Iraq, said.
“A lot of people focus on Gallipoli, WWI and WWII. The Vietnam veterans are a bit guarded as well because they weren’t looked after when they got back.
“Vietnam Veterans’ Day being on Long Tan day…Long Tan Day was really only one of the battles.
“There were lots of other intense battles that the Vietnam veterans fought. A lot of them were operations that went for a couple of months at a time.”