Did you know in Australia, August 18th is Vietnam Veterans Day. Originally it was a day to commemorate the Battle of Long Tan that occured in 1966, it has since been adopted by all veterans. That day is this coming Tuesday and I bet if you asked the average man woman or child they wouldn’t know.
So read what is below including a time line at the end and become familiar with it or at the very least the date – August 18th and pay your respects to all Vietnam Veterans around the world – they deserve it; Lest We Forget.
“The battle of Long Tan was the largest single unit battle fought in Vietnam by Australian troops. It began on the afternoon of August 18th and went right through the night until the morning of the 19th.
The reason why is was looked on as decisive and significant was because the Australians had only been there a few months – it was the first major conflict involving Australian troops in Vietnam.
The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army were aware that the Australians were there to secure the province and decided that they would take them on. That was the fate that befell a company of men – Delta company, from the 6th Batallion, Royal Australian Regiment – who were on patrol that particular day. The enemy lay in wait for them – a huge ambush in a rubber plantation called Long Tan.
The Australians had to hold off thousands of enemy troops for the duration of that battle. Eighteen Australian troops were killed – up to a thousand of the enemy. The skills of artillery men and arrival of armoured carriers with more men saved the day. The 6th Batallion was called the “Baby Batallion” as it was made up largely of national servicemen – and they certainly underwent a baptism by fire.”
On the third anniversary of Long Tan, 18 August 1969, a cross was raised on the site of the battle by the men of 6RAR. Veterans from the battle gathered at the cross to commemorate the fallen, and the day was commemorated by them as Long Tan Day from then on.
Over time, all Vietnam Veterans adopted the day as one to commemorate those who served and died in Vietnam. In 1987, following the Welcome Home parade for Vietnam Veterans in Sydney, Prime Minister Bob Hawke announced that Long Tan Day would be known as Vietnam Veterans Day. Since then, it has been commemorated every year as the day on which the service of all those men and women who served in Vietnam is remembered.
In acknowledging Vietnam Veterans’ Day Communities throughout Australia remember the sacrifices made by our young men and women in a conflict that spanned a ten year period, thus making it one of the longest wars in which Australian’s participated.