Vietnam Veterans’ magazine, “Chin Up” has published the welcome message from Vietnam Swans’ National President, Phil Johns, which appeared in the 2013 ANZAC Friendship Match footy record.
‘Chin Up’ Magazine is a magazine of the Vietnam Veterans’ Community back in Australia. The Winter 2013 issue of Chin Up has just been released. In it, the welcome message from National President, Phil Johns in the 2013 ANZAC Friendship Match footy record was published.
The welcome message is reproduced below.
Just 17 days after our inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match in 2010, a comment was left on the Vietnam Swans’ website by a guy called Stan Middleton: “I served in Vung Tau in 1967-68. A full scale Aussies Rules Competition – the Vietnam Football League (VFL) – was conducted between Australian units twice a year… on the Lord Mayor’s Oval”.
Stan had just given the ANZAC Friendship Match an anchor point like no other. Thank goodness the Swannies had an updated website. Thank goodness Stan, the VFL’s “official historian”, had found it just two weeks after our first.
Today, Stan Middleton will return to the Lord Mayor’s Oval to watch two games of footy. In the evening, he will deliver the Middleton Address at the McMillan Dinner flanked by two VFL premiers, Ron Vernon (1967) and Richard “Johno” Johnston (two flags in 1968) and the late Kev McMillan’s son, Dave. Poignantly, the Dinner will be held at the Imperial Hotel which stands on the site of the former Peter Badcoe Club.
Around South East Asia today, commemorative ANZAC Matches will be played in Borneo and Singapore. And, of course, Kanchanaburi, Thailand, where the Thailand Tigers host South East Asia’s seminal ANZAC Match.
In Vung Tau, all players shall wear two black armbands to explicitly recognize that, in times of war, personal tragedies are suffered irrespective of national flags.
The ANZAC Friendship Match aims to use Australia’s Signature Sport as a unifying force to blend vastly different worlds. It aims, primarily, to bring the worlds of Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand closer together. It aims to bring the polar worlds of 1969 and 2013 together to improve the level of understanding. It aims to improve the health and well being of Vietnamese children by proactively supporting the Vung Tau Orphanage, Swim Vietnam and Water Safety Vietnam.
Support for the concept behind this weekend is encouraging. Numbers of people attending the Match and Dinner grow each year. Articles for this ANZAC Record have been received from a significant stream of significant persons swirling the world. Items of memorabilia have been donated by the Sydney Swans, GWS Giants, Brisbane Lions and West Coast Eagles to raise money for the above causes. And, separately, individuals have also been raising funds to help make a difference.
Today’s three match balls have been donated by the AFL and Sherrin.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Australia and the Vietnam Swans, again, would like to thank our Vietnamese hosts for warmly welcoming us to their country.
In turn, the Vietnam Swans would like to welcome all Vietnamese, veterans, friends and the Jakarta Bintangs to today’s match, which, incidentally, is also an Official East Asian Australian Football League (EAAFL) Match and the 5th Kainey Cup played between these two teams.
Today is about both reflection and celebration. Enjoy the two games of football (including the Legends and All Stars match) and the McMillan Dinner in the spirit that they are offered.
Next year, will be Gallipoli’s 99th anniversary. And the Vietnam Swans will look forward to welcoming you back to the Lord Mayor’s Oval for the 2014 ANZAC Friendship Match.