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Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Page: 9380

Mr WILSON (O'Connor) (13:37): On 17 August, I was honoured to represent Senator the Hon. David Johnston, the Minister for Defence, at the Greenbushes RSL Vietnam Veterans Day commemoration service. More than 200 people participated in the service, including members of RSL sub-branches in my electorate from Esperance to Manjimup. In memory of the fallen from the Vietnam War the RSL sub-branch presidents, the RSL State President Graham Edwards and I laid wreaths at the cenotaph.

Seventeen young men from Bridgetown and four from Greenbushes were sent off to the Vietnam War. They were fortunate enough to return after their tour of duty, but many did not. Each year, Vietnam veterans gather at war memorials throughout Australia for a service and wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the Battle of Long Tan, which occurred on 18 August 1966, the most significant engagement by Australian forces during the Vietnam War. At the service at the Greenbushes RSL, President Ron Adair said 18 August became known as Vietnam Veterans Day in 1987 when Australia's first national welcome home parade was held in Sydney. Ron said:

Today we pause to reflect and remember all those who fought in the Vietnam War. We acknowledge those who supported them in their endeavours, including medical staff, volunteers and many others. In war, there are no winners or losers. In war, there are far too many sacrifices.

I thank Greenbushes RSL Sub-Branch President Ron Adair and Secretary Pat Scallan for their invitation. It was a very moving commemorative service.