A casual gathering at the Port Pirie RSL branch commemorated the 50th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War on Sunday.
The day saw about 40 Vietnam veterans from Port Pirie and their families enjoying informal chats and lunch.
RSL president Haydn Madigan was thankful of the efforts of those who supported the event.
“This day started a few months ago as an idea to spruce up the museum for Vietnam Veterans Day. It then turned into something bigger,” he said.
“I did some research a couple of years ago and found out that there were 147 veterans that went to Vietnam and were originally from Port Pirie, so we thought why not invite them here today.”
“The RSLs around Australia have not endeared themselves to Vietnam veterans in the past and we wanted our vets to understand that those bad days are gone.”
Port Pirie servicemen Frank Gordon, Dean Ryder and John Kearns were on the first battalion to Vietnam in 1965 and had a chance to catch up at the event.
“It is good to see everybody getting together here today,” said Mr Gordon.
“Vietnam was the most intense part of our lives and we will always remember the time we spent there.”
For Mr Ryder, the 50th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War is a significant date.
“It is magnificent to see so many veterans as we all share a very unique bond,” he said. Mr Kearns said the commemorative lunch brought back many memories.
“Being here today brings back many memories. I had not seen some of the people here today for 16 years and it is fantastic to see all the old familiar faces,” he said.
“I am proud to have been part of this historical moment and praise all Port Pirie RSL volunteers for their efforts in putting this event together for us.”