A group of about 100 people gathered at Bedford Park on Saturday, August 18, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Australia’s commitment to Vietnam in 1962.
Commonly called Vietnam Vets Day or the Battle of Long Tan, the day holds a special place in the hearts of Vietnam veterans who now get their day of glory after many years of being forgotten and shamed.
Broome was fortunate enough to have Norforce stand a catafalque party on guard, and a contingent of 25 other Norforce officers who were in town for a training course also attended.
But even more important was the presence of Broome’s resident Vietnam veterans and visiting Vietnam veterans, many of whom visit at the same time each year.
After the catafalque party was slow-marched on by the sergeant, Bishop Christopher Saunders gave an address and offered prayers. Broome RSL vice-president Captain (AAC) John Dayman gave a formal but heartfelt address. He said the day was extremely important to Australia and this year was extra special as it was the 50th anniversary.
Broome Senior High School student Steele Harris-Walker gave a rousing version of The Last Anzac, before wreaths were laid by Broome RSL secretary Rod Hill OAM, Manjimup RSL president Rex Brown and Broome Shire president Graeme Campbell.
After the Last Post, a minute’s silence was observed, then TS Broome Navy Cadets Chief Petty Officer John Travis conducted the flag raising.
At the completion of the ceremony, the Norforce catafalque party was marched off and the parade dismissed.
Back at Broome RSL veterans and supporters enjoyed a light lunch and a few obligatory amber fluids, while reminiscing on training prior to being sent to Vietnam and the days thereafter.