G & S Mane
The National Executive
Vietnam Veterans of Australia PO Box 8108
Warnbro WA 6169
22 August 2006
I should like to add my voice of congratulations and support for those men and women who served our country with such outstanding bravery and honour during the Vietnam War. This 401h anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan has, I feel, given us, as a nation, an opportunity to go some small way towards making good on the disgraceful way in which our fighting men and women were treated at the time.
And I should like to take this a step further personally. I am fifty-one years old - today is my birthday - and it has come to mind that I need to tender a personal apology. As a callow, naive teenager I was amongst the demonstrators against the war who did so much to create the awful atmosphere to which the soldiers returned. I have made a personal journey since those days and I now look back on those days without much pleasure, to say the least.
I am now the headmaster of a primary school in Sydney (and we have a Vietnam veteran at our Anzac service each year). If any of the children have done anything which they regret or feel they need to apologise for, I give themevery encouragement to do so. Now it is my turn.
I should therefore like to tender my heartfelt apology to all Vietnam veterans for my part in that inglorious episode in Australia's history where we denigrated those whom we should have honoured. If you feel it appropriate to circulate this apology and this goes some small way to liftingpart of the burden weighing on the hearts of our veterans I will feel all the better.
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