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Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia says AFL Veterans’ Day Match idea is “inappropriate”

Posted by Vietnam Swans on December 4, 2012

The Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial, Anzac Parade, Canberra.

Max Ball is a Vice President of the Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia (VVAA). The VVAA is a key organisation that represents a large number of Vietnam Veterans.

Recently, the Vietnam Swans proposed to the AFL that it consider dedicating an AFL match on Vietnam Veterans’ Day (18 August) next year to all Veterans. The VVAA considers the idea to be “inappropriate”.

In the proposal, the signature moment of the pre match formalities, would be a live telecast of the  minute’s silence during the Long Tan Service in Vietnam back to Australia. Next year also marks the 40th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.

Below, Max explains why the VVAA considers the idea to be “inappropriate”.

Like many Vietnam veterans I have visited the country since 1972; in my case, for a time I was successfully importing goods from Vietnam.  I am sure many Veterans recognise the progress that has been made there, and have also enjoyed their peaceful visits and recognise that good relations exist between Australia and Vietnam.

Nonetheless, we have been of the strong view, since first reading of your in June, that to use Vietnam Veterans day for the reasons proposed was inappropriate.  We made informal enquires of the AFL but as there was little response we did not pursue the matter further until the in the Subiaco Post dated 27 October.

In 1987 Prime Minister Bob Hawke designated 18 August as Australia’s official Vietnam Veteran’s Day.  As you know, the date commemorates the Battle of Long Tan and is also a day for remembering and commemorating all those Australians who died as a result of their service in Vietnam.  Vietnam Veterans’ Day commemorative services are held in every State and some regional centres and are very well attended.  Attendees include members of our Allies at the time, including former members of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and other Vietnamese who, with their families, fled South Vietnam.

In due course there is no doubt that veterans from other conflicts should be recognised by the community in a number of ways, however, as stated, we think that the 18th of August should continue to remain as the day on which those who did not return home from South Vietnam are remembered and honoured and we have confirmed that view with the AFL.

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