Here are a couple of images from the day-long 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Binh Ba in Canberra on Thursday.
The first one shows the Minister for Veterans and Defence on the left, and Vietnam veterans from the official party on the right. My father is the veteran in the centre. It was SO sunny that we were all blinded and melting by the end, despite it being the first week of winter!
The second image is from the Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial the same evening. The ceremony was dedicated to Binh Ba veterans in general, and to the sole Australian killed in the fighting in particular. (There was also a British D-Day veteran present.) Afterwards, veterans and their families were lined up for a photograph – I’m one of the dots on the left of the picture!
Everyone in Australia: at 2pm tomorrow the 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Binh Ba – a major battle in the Vietnam War – are going to be broadcast live on television from Canberra, and then repeated the day after.
My father has played a huge part in organising this event, and hundreds of soldiers, past and present, are flying in to participate. My parents are in the official party, and will be obvious on TV, and I’ll be sitting… somewhere…! We’ve all been too busy to finalise this.
Afterwards, there’s a function at the Australian War Memorial, and then there’s a huge dinner tomorrow night, and I’ll be staying at the hotel in the city, because there’s just so much going on!
We went to the Australian War Memorial (which is here in Canberra) shortly after the national Anzac Day service concluded around lunchtime today. It was like being backstage; after hours of live television broadcast across the country, we got there when all the technical crews were dismantling the cameras etc.
This is the first time I have seen concrete bollards EVERYWHERE – the terror threat is so high now. They had two sets of dozens of big barricades on either end of Anzac Parade, where in the past there was just a flimsy plastic ribbon. It’s so sad to see that happening even in Canberra now…
My father is a Vietnam veteran, and a major commemoration for the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba is happening here in just a few weeks (the battle was mentioned on TV today).
We – as we always do – visited the Vietnam war section, and then went to Manuka for lunch and drinks.
Thousands and thousands of handmade poppies at the Australian War Memorial for Remembrance Day, and a hundred years since the end of the First World War. Australia committed to the war before Britain even declared it, and Canberra turned on a sunny, hot, blue-skied, beautiful day for the occasion.
Because I live in Canberra, love history, and have a military father, I visit the War Memorial quite often. However, today was special, and because I’ve been overseas for much of the past few months, and today was the last day to see all the poppies before they go, (there are poppies at Parliament House, too, but they’re there for another week), I had to visit.
Because I live in Canberra and have a former military father (and love history!), I spend quite a lot of time at the Australian War Memorial.
I went with my father today, half because of the occasion (one hundred years since the First World War ended) – to see the thousands and thousands of handmade poppies in the garden out the front (today was the last day for the exhibition), and half because I’m currently working on the memoirs of a Military Cross-winning Vietnam veteran (my father’s commander in the war), and he was heavily involved in the Long Tan dedication ceremony.
Long Tan is by far the most famous (infamous?) battle in Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, and my father knows people in the iconic photograph.
The cross arrived at the War Memorial not all that long ago, and this is the first time I’ve seen it in its special new room. Unfortunately that room – as they tried to make it a quiet place for reflection – is practically hidden, and I think most visitors will miss it…
The view from the Australian War Memorial down ANZAC Parade in Canberra this afternoon. You can’t see it, but Lake Burley Griffin is at the end of the road, and then that’s Australian Parliament in the distance.
Yet again we had spectacular blue sky. And – yet again – the national news said it is cloudy and raining here. Uh…
The new recruits from Kapooka were on a visit today. They were all lined up out front for a group photo when we arrived.
Even though we went to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra today specifically for the Special Forces exhibition, we always drop by the Vietnam War section because my father is a veteran, and there are a number of parts of the exhibition that relate directly to him.
Here’s the helicopter display. There’s a sound and light show every few minutes.