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17 Aug 2020

75th Anniversary of VP Day & Vietnam Veterans Day Services

We had two very significant commemorations this month. Saturday 15 August 2020 saw 75 years since the end of the Second World War, a war that had seen nearly 1 million Australians serve in the armed forces. Of those, over 30,000 Australians were taken prisoner and 39,000 did not return to their loved ones. A legacy which is still felt today.

Then on Tuesday 18 August 2020, was Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day, originally known as Long Tan Day, commemorated the men of D Company, 6RAR who fought in the battle of Long Tan on August 18 1966, 54 years on this day now honours all Australian’s who served in the Vietnam War

Even with the current health pandemic impacting the world, it was important that we were still able to gather at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, albeit in smaller numbers, to remember and acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our veterans from the Second World War and the Vietnam War.

We were honoured to have six veterans of the Second World War in attendance on the day, these were;

Mr Ken Joyce, Royal Navy

Mr Don Kennedy, Merchant Navy

Mr Rod Kingham, Australian Army

Mr Fredrick Lewis, Royal Australian Navy

Mr David Trist, Australian Army

Mr Jack van Emden, Royal Australian Air Force

The NSW Office for Veterans Affairs has been researching our veterans from the Second World War and have published 75 stories of veterans living in New South Wales. You are encouraged to read the accounts of our servicemen and servicewomen from all service areas, as well as the contributions made in essential services on the home-front. You can find these stories here.

Before the service at 10.55am a five aircraft formation from the Southern Highlands, the Russian Roolettes, conducted a fly past down Martin Place.

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC Governor of NSW delivered a moving commemorative address, you can read this online here.

As a further recognition of this significant occasion, at midday, belltowers rang in unison across Sydney, New South Wales, and the Nation, to acknowledge VP Day, the 75th Anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in the Pacific.

Many Vietnam veterans were in attendance on the 18th August to pay their respects, covering the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (NSW), Royal Regiment Association, Vietnam Veterans, Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association, Australian Army Training Team Veterans Association and The Forces Entertainment Association.

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC Governor of NSW delivered the commemorative address, which you can read online here.

Our thanks go out to all of those who attended and to the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army for their support in the commemoration services.

RSL NSW would like to thank the following for their support in the services:

Australian Defence Force and HMAS Kuttabul

Ex-Service Organisations

NSW Government House

NSW Government

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

NSW Police

St John Ambulance

City of Sydney

Office for Veteran Affairs

NSW Taxi Council and Manly Cabs

RSL LifeCare

Mr Gareth McCray OAM

Highlight videos can be viewed below;

 

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