“This is a great idea”, AFL Hall of Famer, Graham Cornes on Vietnam Veterans’ Day Twilight Blockbuster proposal
Posted by Vietnam Swans on October 30, 2012
Last weekend on Saturday 27 October 2012, the Subiaco Post published an article by Austin Robertson about the Vietnam Swans’ proposal for the AFL to host an AFL match on Vietnam Veterans Day next year.
Vietnam Veteran and AFL Hall of Fame inductee, Graham Cornes is quoted as saying,” This is a great idea that will be widely appreciated.”
Below is a reproduction of Austin’s article.
Vietnam, is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
I have visited the famous Tunnels of Cu Chi, an immense network of underground structures, preserved by the Vietnamese Government and gasp in awe at the enormity of it.
Turn back the clock to the ’60s and the ’70s, and these same tunnels and firearms were the instruments of a war fought by the Viet Cong guerrillas and our brave fighting lads.
Today, of course, it is a different story… the Vietnamese people are kind, warm and friendly but, during the war, this was a place where hundreds of young Aussies died in a futile and unwinnable conflict.
Being a Vietnam Vet was a bit like winning the lottery you didn’t want to win.
During conscription, if your number came out of the barrel, you were put in a uniform, given a gun, and sent off to war. No questions asked.
I was lucky. My number didn’t come out and while men, exactly my age and younger, were running around in uncompromising jungles and dodging bullets, the toughest thing I had to do was to face Mal Atwell on a bad mood day.
For many years, the Vietnam Vets were ignored – they simply did not get the recognition they deserved.
Now the Vietnam Swans Football Club has formally approached AFL Chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick, to consider dedicating an AFL game at the MCG, or the SCG, to those young Australians killed in the Vietnam War (Ed’s note: the proposal would see all veterans from all of Australia’s wars and peace keeping operations be recognised with this match).
I discussed this idea with Vietnam Swans’ President, Phil Johns, on my last visit to Vietnam, and who knows, it may actually happen.
There are many expats living in Vietnam, where AFL games are televised each week, and there is a growing interest in the game.
Mike has undertaken to put the proposition to the AFL administration and hopefully, the decision will be positive. Certainly, it is deserved.
Anyone remotely interested in our national game will tell you, how special the blockbuster ANZAC Day match is between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG, commemorating our soldiers who contributed so much in both World Wars.
What I am suggesting to Mike, and the AFL, is that a Vietnam Vets blockbuster match be held in Melbourne, or Sydney on the August 18, next year, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Australia.
Former South Australian football star, Graham Cornes, who was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame last season thinks it is a good idea.
Most people would not know Graham was a Vietnam Vet.
“The Battle of Long Tan was one of the most heroic actions in Australia’s military history,” Graham said.
For a time, Cornes pitched his tent 50 kilometres down a dusty road from the now picturesque seaside town of Vung Tau, at a place you didn’t want to be, called Nui Dat.
“They (the AFL),” he continued, “have for so long reflected many of Australia’s social issues.
“This is a great idea that will be widely appreciated by all Vietnam Veterans, the majority of whom have suffered severely and have largely felt unappreciated since their war service.”
Go get ‘em.
- To read the original article in pdf format, click onto Subiaco Post, “Kick a Goal for Viet Vets”, 27 Oct 2012.
- To read a “Message from Phil Johns”, the National President of the Vietnam Swans, regarding the proposal, which also appeared in the Subiaco Post, click here.
- To read other articles about the Vietnam Swans that have appeared in the media in both Australia and Vietnam, click here.