The Hon Philip Dalidakis MLC
Minister for Small Business, Innovation & Trade
Wednesday, 6 January, 2016
HONOURING THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE – VICTORIA REMEMBERS OUR FALLEN VIETNAM VETERANS
Vietnam Veterans who died in the service of their country will be remembered at a poignant commemoration in February as part of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and the Vietnam War.
At 12 noon on 21 February 2016 the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia – Victorian Branch (VVAA Victorian Branch) will coordinate State-wide, simultaneous vigils at the gravesites of Vietnam Veterans buried in Victoria .
Acting Minister for Veterans Philip Dalidakis and President of the VVAA Victorian Branch Bob Elworthy said 100 Vietnam veterans will participate directly in the vigils, as organisers or presenters, during a visit to the Springvale War Cemetery this morning.
Almost 60,000 Australians including 10,500 Victorians served in the Vietnam War and 521 Australians did not return. 98 Australian veterans who died during active service in Vietnam are buried at gravesites throughout Victoria.
The Andrews Labor Government has committed $1 million over two years to support the VVAA Victorian Branch in developing a thoughtful program of commemorative and educational events for 2016.
Gravesite vigils will take place to encourage the community to better understand and reflect on the Vietnam War – Australia ‘s longest military engagement of the 20th century.
Other initiatives to commemorate the anniversary include a Vietnam War History Competition for Victorian students, and a $250,000 upgrade of the National Vietnam Veterans Museum at Phillip Island.
For more information on the commemorative and educational activities planned for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan visit www.vic.gov.au/victoria remembers/vietnam or www.vvaavic.org.au .
Quotes attributable to Acting Minister for Veterans Philip Dalidakis
“These vigils are just one of many events to commemorate the soth anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and the Vietnam War.”
“Our Vietnam veterans deserve the greatest respect, and we ‘re working hard to ensure all Victorians have the chance to pa y tribute to their sacrifice.
Quotes attributable to President of the VVAA Victorian Branch Bob Elworthy
“This is an important time to remember the hardships, difficulties and trauma of the Vietnam War but also to honour those who fought and lived with determination, resilience, mateship and valour.”
“The vigils will honour those who did not survive, but the many other commemorative programs will pa y testament to those who have gone on to live strong and honourable lives with friends, families and fellow servicemen and women “.
Media Contact: Matt Macklin 0448 681 521 I firstname.lastname@example.org .gov.au