Standing Proud and Tall- Fifty Years On

Each year there are gatherings throughout our nation to reflect on our commitment to the Vietnam War. These services coincide with the battle of Long Tan which is used as a focal point for this long and bloody campaign.

 

No matter when or where our military served in Vietnam, Long Tan represented the challenges, dangers and indomitable spirit of our Armed Forces who held high the ANZAC torch. The battle was a clear example of mate ship and team work including all Arms and Services that supported the gallant D Coy, 6RAR.

 

Long Tan demonstrated the battle discipline, stubbornness and defiance of the ordinary soldier when confronted with what seemed impossible odds. This page of history was synonymous in character with all clashes during the war, big or small from the very sharp tip of the spear to the dedicated Florence Nightingales waiting for the Dust Off helicopters to arrive with a new wave of casualties

 

Nor should history neglect the dedicated families during those years who kept the home fires burning despite anxiety and sleepless nights, dreading an unwelcome knock on the door by a grim faced messenger of death

 

Now  in our life’s journey we have arrived at the 50 year marker  since Long Tan. It is time to remember those who did not come home and so many who thought they had. It is a time to recall so many comrades who have since joined them. It is a time to remind all younger generations of the terrible cost of war, during and long after the last shot has been fired.

 

It is a time for Politicians to revise their policies in regards those who have served their nation no matter when or where and a time for all veterans from yesterday to be together once more, standing tall and proud.

 

Fifty Years On

It was a gathering for the 50th year

Some old soldier on meeting after such time shed a tear

Common was the greeting “Gidday ya ugly bastards, have a beer”

Far different from today’s political correctness, I fear

 

Smiling faces, strong embraces and excitement said it all

To be again with old comrades, one and all

No matter the genes, religion or lack of it, be it yours or mine

All were beloved brothers who had stood the test of time

 

Was it so long ago when we did dare

In swamps, paddy fields and smothering jungle every where

When we dreamed of distant futures so far away

Yet tonight as we reflect, it seems such thoughts were only yesterday

 

Now as the Gathering grows, it makes you feel so young

To hear once more the laughter and familiar songs we sung

Recalling the funny times despite those terrible days so grim

The joy of joshing old mates for past mischief, especially him and him

 

Gone the howling scream above and then deafening fiery blast

Absent is the cruel metal, whirring, humming; there’s silence at last

No more the waiting game and “There’s been a change of plans”

Now it’s “Drink your bloody beer and keep up if you can”

 

Time marches on and many chairs are empty; all is so quiet

The light is fading and soon will come the lonely unknown night

Yet always will be the memories until that final hour

Of a powerful and noble loving brotherhood which was ours

George Mansford ©June 2015

 

 

Comments

  1. Doug Mepham says

    Here I sit with my head in my hands thinking of all the Hours my work colleagues ( mates) and myself who worked on Caribou’s 35 Sqn ( Wallaby airlines) to provide 7 aircraft every day when we could, in support to the ARMY and the likes, and in my case 46 years ago, scarred forever, and when I think back the comradery of the day comes to mind , Lest we Forget.