Remembering our Fallen Comrades
Each 25th April, ANZAC Day in New Zealand and Australia, the two countries remember their war death at dawn and civil ceremonies. It is traditional for a returned serviceman to read aloud from the poem "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, after which those present promise "we will remember them". The part of the poem typically read is from these two verses:
read the complete poem here consider this thought
returned services clubs [NZRSA] also observe a minute silence each evening at 9PM where those present pause in tribute and respond 'we will remember them"
Carillion National War Memorial Wellington - Vietnam Niche with the Maori canoe [waka wairua] symbolising the tapu-lifting [whakanoa] and bringing the spirits of those who died in SVN, home to rest with family/whanau. After resting in the Carillion the waka wairua is now in the Gallipoli Room, ANZAC House the NZRSA headquarters [Young]
Mihi ki ka Hoia - Tribute to our Soldiers
New Zealand casualties in Vietnam were 37 KIA/DOW, 187 WIA.
|43223 Pte David Wright RNZIR
commemorated on the
read local comment
|483256 Pte John Gurnick RNZIR
3Pl Age: 21
|482859 Pte Tom Cooper RNZIR
these veterans were wounded during the W3 Coy tour
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)
"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them...!'
sunset Phuoc Tuy province Vietnam 1970 [Stock]
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We Will Remember - webmaster
Where applicable stories that demonstrate this determination will be added to this page. In doing so it may be necessary for some veterans to re-examine their long-held beliefs about the treatment they received.
“He was getting old
and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the RSA, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his mates; they were heroes, every one.
And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbours, his tales became a joke,
All his mates listened quietly for they knew where of he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer, for ol’ Jack has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer for an ANZAC died today.
He won’t be mourned by many, just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary, very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family, going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing, tho’ an ANZAC died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing, and proclaim that they were great.
The Media tell of their life stories from the time that they were young,
But the passing of an ANZAC, goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,
Some smoothie who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country and offers up his life?
The politician’s stipend and the style in which they live,
Are often disproportionate, to the service that they give.
While the ordinary ANZAC, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension, small.
It is not the politicians with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out, with his ever-waffling stand?
Or would you want an ANZAC, his home, his country, his kin,
Just a common soldier, who would fight until the end?
He was a worthy ANZAC, and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his likes again.
For when our countries are in conflict, we find the ANZAC’s part,
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honour while he’s here to enjoy the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say:
“OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, AN ANZAC DIED TODAY" [one version of many - not able to be attributed]
My Experience - Rex Alexander [V6]
I listened with sadness to the stories of the treatment of Vietnam veterans on their return home; specifically their treatment at their local RSA's. I consider myself very fortunate. Before leaving for service overseas, I had accompanied my father to our local RSA in Timaru on a number of occasions, very much underage. The club was men only as was common back then. In 1969 there was a Gallipoli Corner with as I recall 6 - 8 Gallipoli veterans plus one or two others who had served in WW1 and were tolerated (just) by those of the 1915 landings. They would have ranged in age from early to late 70's; ancient to a 19 year old. They never spoke to the WW2 veterans who made up the majority of the membership and always remained in their corner surrounded by memorabilia and photographs.
Whenever one of them approached the bar, Stan the barman and club president [a WW2 returned man] always served them first; it was just the done thing. My father was a sergeant in 3 platoon, C Company 23rd Battalion who had served in Syria, North Africa and Italy. He was at El Alamein and Monte Casino. I like to think it was out of respect for him that prior to my departure, one of the Gallipoli vets approached my father saying they wanted to talk to me (actually demanded). I got some awesome advice from a group of legends. The only piece I remember now being from one who never seemed to sit still for long; he was always the one who got the drinks from the bar. His advice was; "occasionally it is necessary, even important to stick your head above the parapet. Don't worry about that" he said; "head shots are painless - we have seen more than a few - it's more important to keep your bum down. I know, I am still in pain over 50 years later." On my return from Vietnam they again asked to speak to me. They sat me down, didn't ask questions, just said: talk to us. I did, left nothing out, there was no bullsh***g these guys. At the end one of them who had never said anything to me at either session called the barman over and said "Stan, process this man's membership application." They never spoke to me again, but then since they never spoke to anyone, I felt very included.
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