August 18 marks Vietnam Veterans Day and the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, this year being the 53rd anniversary.
Each year chapters of the Veterans Motorcycle Club make the pilgrimage to Batemans Bay as guests of the Eurobodalla Vietnam Veterans, Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association. Tony Herbert and his crew from the Association put on a moving ceremony each year with attendees from Veterans MC Chapters – Federal, Southern Tablelands, South Coast, Sydney and Central Coast as well as local veterans and veterans from the Vietnamese community including those who served alongside Australian troops during the war.
There is always a significant contingent of local associations, politicians and schools, it was particularly significant this year that the numbers were not down as it was on a Sunday. As usual the local Cadet Unit did the colour party and flags and this year the catafalque party was conducted by members of Australia’s Federation Guard.
The F-18 flyover was a bit different this year with something looking suspiciously like a helicopter carrying out the flypast instead.
The keynote speaker for this year was MajGen Jim Molan AO, DSC (ret) who served in the Australian Army for 40 years and is a former Senator in the Australian Parliament. MajGen Molan gave a passionate speech on the policy of various governments and the impact of those who serve and also reflected on Operational Deployments since the Vietnam War.
The award for a passionate speech for the day however must go to former ARVN soldier, Mr. Nguyen, who spoke of the battle and what happened to his people and within his country following the war and how many Vietnamese came to Australia as refugees. Mr. Nguyen expressed sincere gratitude to Australia for the opportunities here and the support and friendliness of the people and spoke of giving back to the communities that gave them those opportunities. I have kept a copy of his speech, Let We Yell.
As is tradition, we all attended a lunch at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club following the ceremony and quite a few ales were shared over the course of the remainder of the day.
As a motorcycle club it is all about the ride, as a military motorcycle club it is also about respecting, remembering and commemorating those that served our country. We ride as a group often in our various chapters, the opportunity for five chapters to come together is special and not to be missed. This run is always well attended by our club; it is about the history of our club and honouring the Vietnam Veterans that started our club.
Lest We Forget
Want to ride in a pack with the Veterans Motorcycle Club. Saturday October 19 is the annual Tour of Duty Poker Run for the Federal Chapter.
Details on our website – www.vmcfederal.com.au
And our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/VMCFederal/?ref=br_rs
Thanks to Photos By Shea for the professional photographs used and to those that offered their snaps as I failed badly myself this year…Mork