PHOTOS: Gladstone remembers on 53rd anniversary
VETERANS, family members, dignitaries and the community came together yesterday to commemorate those who served in the Vietnam War, and the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.
This year marks 53 years since the battle in 1966 in which 17 Australians were killed in action and 25 wounded, one of whom died later as a result.
The Vietnam war claimed the lives of 521 Australians and left 3000 wounded, injured or ill.
Gladstone veteran Peter Young served in logistics in Vung Tau in 1968, and said yesterday's commemorations were important for the community to acknowledge the sacrifices made by many who were conscripted.
"I give full credit to the schools for the way they're teaching students these days to respect their veterans, and that really comes to the fore and is extremely noticeable,” MrYoung said.
"We copped a lot of negativity when we came back, from a hostile government and an even more hostile public, and it took something like 20 years to get over that.
"It wasn't something easy we did and a lot of people didn't volunteer to do it ... however, today I think it's a different matter and they get their due reverence.”
The ceremony, held at Gladstone's Anzac Park, included speeches, the laying of wreaths, the sounding of Last Post and a minute's silence.
Numbers were down at the event due to a clash with the running of the Gladstone Botanic to Bridge Fun Run.
However, Mr Young said the commemorations continued to grow with the next generation responsible for remembering those who went before them.
"Given now many of the veterans are 70 or over, we're getting a bit thin on the ground,” he said.
"We're not going to forget them, we will remember them and we will keep doing these services as long as we have enough people to attend them.”