A number of students were privileged enough to attend the commemoration service for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan at the Shrine of Remembrance yesterday in Melbourne.
Originally known as Long Tan Day, Vietnam Veterans Day is commemorated on 18 August every year. The date was chosen to commemorate the men of D Company, 6RAR who fought in the battle of Long Tan in 1966. On that day, 108 Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought a pitched battle against over 2,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops not far from the village of Long Tan. In 2016 we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
Students lined the forecourt as the veterans marched to their places for the ceremony, high fiving and thanking students for being there. Gunfire marked the march of hundreds of Vietnam veterans up the forecourt of the Shrine, where small white crosses adorned with poppies represent the 521 Australian lives lost during the Vietnam war.
Victoria’s Governor, Linda Dessau and the Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the service, with wreaths laid, planes flying over the shrine, the last post was played and a 3 gun salute to remember the fallen were all part of the ceremony.
A group of Victorian students will visit Vietnam as part of a study tour to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in September this year. Successful applications were chosen from stories written about the “Controversial Vietnam war”. Chelsea Petterson was one of 10 successful students from Victoria to be attending. The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest conflict of the 20th century. Almost 60,000 Australians fought in the war. More than 500 Australians lost their lives serving their country. The students travelling to Vietnam will visit key battle sites, as well as significant locations in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon and Hanoi.
School captains Stacey and Rory attended the ceremony of remembrance at the cenotaph in Yarram, along with our Principal, David Mowbray