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VP salute to veterans takes off in Canberra.



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Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Wednesday 22 June 2005 VA064

VP SALUTE TO VETERANS TAKES OFF IN CANBERRA

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, De-Anne Kelly, today announced the national event to be held in Canberra this August to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific on 15 August 1945, which ended World War II.

A flyover of Lake Burley Griffin and a traditional victory roll by a World War II-era Mustang marked the official launch of Salute to Veterans, which will be held from Saturday 13 August to Monday 15 August - VP Day.

Mrs Kelly said the Australian Government will hold the Salute to Veterans as a national public event to thank Australia’s WWII veterans for their contribution, achievement and sacrifice in all theatres of the war on the 60th anniversary of its end on VP Day.

“It will be the centrepiece event of commemorations being planned for State capitals and regional centres across the nation to which all Australians are invited,” she said.

Mrs Kelly said the flyover by the Mustang was a taste of the spectacle that veterans and the community would see during the Salute to Veterans. Highlights would include Australian Defence Force displays of historic and modern military equipment, simulated operations and rescues centred around Lake Burley Griffin, including a sunset air pageant with fireworks on Sunday 14 August.

“Some one million Australians served during WWII; almost 40 000 died on active service and more than 30 000 were taken prisoner - there would have been few families not touched by the war in some way,” Mrs Kelly said.

“It is first time that Australia has staged a single commemorative event of this scale and Australia’s WWII veterans will join with the public, to commemorate their service and honour the memory of those who are not here to share the day with them.

“The weekend will conclude with a VP Day 60th anniversary ceremony on Monday 15 August at the Australian War Memorial.”

Mrs Kelly said there were some 170 000 surviving Australian World War II veterans.

“The service of those abroad and on the home front is part of our nation’s history. It is fitting we come together as a nation to celebrate the end of the war 60 years ago, remember those who never returned and thank those who are alive to tell their stories.”

More information on the Salute to Veterans event can be found at www.dva.gov.au or call 1300 360 635.

Media contact: Craig Clarke 0417 889 423

Editor’s Note: The launch will take place today at 10.15am Northern Shore of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra (Rond Terraces, Commonwealth Park, located at the lake end of Anzac Parade. Turn left off Parkes Way when heading to Civic from King’s Avenue Bridge)