Bowen pauses to remember Vietnam
IT WAS fifty-three years ago that digger Alan Bartlett and his comrades fought Australia's deadliest battle of the Vietnam War, and it's a day he honours every year since.
Sunday marked the anniversary of The Battle of Long Tan, a battle that cost the lives of 18 Australians and hundreds of Vietnamese troops.
It is also Vietnam Veterans Day, a day to honour the 60,000 Australian servicemen and women who served in the conflict.
The Bowen RSL sub-branch honoured the day with more than 80 people paying their respects at a memorial held at the Bowen RSL Club.
Mr Bartlett, who travels from Brisbane for three months of the year to stay in Bowen, said it was an important day to honour those that never made it home.
"It's still hard to imagine that you won't see some of those people. That's what makes you crumble," he said.
"I've had the chance to be busy, run a business and have a family. Some people didn't get that."
Mr Bartlett, who fought through the Battle of Long Tan, remembered fondly of his company Sergeant-Major who passed away six months after the battle.
"Many of us were young kids, and he was a father figure to us," he said.
"He picked up one of the blokes next to me and pulled him out. He was there giving ammunition and supporting us.
"He's one of the people I honour every year, every day in fact."
Bowen RSL sub-branch secretary John Eyles said that he was overwhelmed with the turnout on the day.
"It's a great number of people here today. Bowen is always very supportive of this day," Mr Eyles said.
"It's important to remember these people that played an important part in our countries history."