Vietnam Veterans' Day Remembrance Service
Thank you, Mr Curtis. Representing the Leader of the Opposition, Mr James Lister MP; representing the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Vicki Howard; representing Army, Colonel Ashley Gunder AM; representing Navy, Commander Fiona Southwood RAN; representing the Royal Australian Air Force, Group Captain Amanda Cornell; representing the Queensland Police Service Commissioner, Inspector Adam Guild; Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Deputy President, Mr John Weldon and Secretary, Mr Darryl Shipp; Veterans; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I would also like to begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands on which we gather, and extend my greatest respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people who have served and continue to serve our country in the armed forces - particularly those here today.
We gather here as we do each year on the 18th of August to honour the 521 Australian soldiers lost in the Vietnam War and the more than 3000 wounded.
We also honour the many more young soldiers who served and returned to Australia suffering the invisible trauma of war, a trauma many still suffer today.
To you, we pay tribute in the knowledge that you and all Veterans of this conflict carry that burden, and acknowledge that the sacrifices made went far beyond the visible.
It is here in ANZAC Square that Queenslanders are reminded of your service, surrounded by the tributes in sculpture of the sacrifice of generations of Australian service men and women.
Most days at about this time the square is filled with city folk, lunching in the sun and that is a good thing! It is a visible and clear display of the freedom we have – a freedom that so many thousand men and women held so dear they were prepared to sacrifice all to protect it.
Today this corner of the square stands in solemn contrast – and the usual visitors see this transformation and – while it may only be for a moment – I think you can be sure they contemplate that the freedom they treasure came at great cost.
Today, on behalf of the people of Queensland, I would like to honour, and to express our deepest gratitude, to all Vietnam Veterans for your service to this country and the sacrifices made by you and your families.
Using the Military slang derived from the radio jargon of the time I say to all the Vets here today….. ‘Tango Mike’ – thank you very much.