Veterans Affairs | April 14, 2016
Drum leads Long Tan tribute
Thursday, April 14 2016
Nationals MP for Northern Victoria, Damian Drum, today lead a tribute in State Parliament honouring our Vietnam Veterans as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
The battle is considered one of the most decisive in Australian history, when 108 Australian soldiers fought and defeated an estimated 2500 enemy soldiers.
Mr Drum centred his comments in Parliament on the motto which Australia’s Vietnam Veterans brought back with them and still live by: “Honour the dead, but fight like hell for the living.”
Mr Drum is the Coalition’s spokesman on Veterans’ Affairs.
He said there was no single defining characteristic which was common to all of Australia’s Vietnam veterans.
“Many were lucky to return unaffected by the combat and conditions they experienced.
“There are those who have good days and bad days, and there are those who have many bad days end-on-end.
Something they do have in common is that they look after each other and share a wicked and sometimes dark sense of humour.”
He said many shared a gentle disrespect for authority.
Mr Drum said he was lucky enough to have visited Vietnam some years ago where, among other things, he visited the now famous Củ Chi Tunnels complex near Ho Chi Minh City and the former Presidential Palace where the surrender was signed.
“I met many Vietnamese who now see Australians as valued friends.”
Mr Drum said he was pleased to be able to officially welcome many Australian Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese veterans into the Parliament this morning.