SHAKING a soldier’s hand and welcoming him or her home seems like a simple gesture.
Yet it was one that was held in high regard at the Vietnam Veterans Day service at the SS&A in Albury last night.
Murray Border Association Vietnam Veterans president Gary Treeve said the way soldiers were welcomed home significantly affected the way they recovered.
He wants to make sure support is given to those who return from Afghanistan.
“Being a veteran myself, we all understand what it is like to be ostracised and deal with post-traumatic stress,” he said.
“It would have meant so much to us if we had been recognised by veterans from other wars.”
He said returned soldiers deserved to be acknowledged and appreciated for their service.
Mr Treeve said Vietnam Veterans Day — on the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan — was not only about remembering the 521 Australians who died but also a chance for returning veterans to release feelings of anxiety about their service.
Army Logistic Training Centre commandant Colonal Duncan Polich told veterans it was important to “commemorate death and fight like hell for the living” because they all needed support.
The 14 soldiers from the Albury-Wodonga district who never made it home from Vietnam were honoured in a candle and wreath-laying ceremony, also attended by members of 85 Transport Platoon, led by Alan Gray, who held a reunion in Albury.
In Wodonga earlier, a service was held at the Vietnam & Associated Veterans Club where Jock Smith MC reflected on the efforts of those who served in Vietnam.