ON Thursday, August 18, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan was publically acknowledged.
As usual, with our City Council, the Mandurah Murray Vietnam Veterans Group, (under the leadership of Col Gibson and Fred Abbott,) took up the mantle for this commemoration.
This year, they took the initiative of having our youth take the leading roles in their service.
The Scotch College band led the parade, for the last time across the Old Bridge.
They were followed by 63 senior students from the combined high schools and colleges of the Mandurah and Murray districts.
Each of these students carried a flag representing a Western Australian killed during the Vietnam War.
During the official proceedings, the students ceremoniously presented this flag to the families, or their representatives, of the dead.
Two students from Mandurah Baptist College delivered the keynote address. They transported themselves, back through time, to place themselves in the boots of the soldiers killed.
With war widow, Mrs Lynne Donnelly, and my own wife, and other Vietnam veterans, I had the great privilege of assisting this youth prepare for this ordeal.
As were the young men they were honouring, they were nervous.
They were proud. They were trained. They were prepared. They were respectful. They were immaculately dressed. They were focused. They were respectful. They were dutiful.
We are often critical of our youth, their parents and their educators. Having now worked with these students, I can look forward with pride, to the future of our city, and this great nation.
They will carry the banners of previous sacrifices forward.
If you doubt this, can I strongly encourage you to get involved in your local school.
COLIN CROSS, San Remo.