I write to you on behalf of my proud Vietnamese South Australian community members. Where your deployment was or how you served Australia does not define you; it is your altruism that continues to inspire generations of Australians. A simple “thank you” never seems enough when it comes to recognising you and your service to our prosperous country. The safety and happiness that Australians have taken for granted will always be on the back of the many hardships you endured.
I am part of the generation that experienced war in my homeland, Viet Nam, and despite the war “ending” over four decades ago, we know that it never really does. The Vietnamese Community in Australia and worldwide still mourns the insurmountable loss from our war on 30th of April every year. The Vietnamese diaspora remembers and honours Australian Veterans who renounced their youth to come and aid South Vietnam with many of your mates succumbed to the jungle. To protect freedom and democracy, they served nobly for the 40 million Vietnamese faces they hardly ever met.
Your reputation had led me to enlisting with the Adelaide University Regiment in my third year at university. I wanted to see and feel what it’s like to be a digger. As a result, I could actually experience part of your hardship. This just reinforced my deepest appreciation for your sacrifice.
Despite work preventing me from further active duty, this admiration has led me to devoting most of my working life in Defence projects to contribute to delivering capabilities to our fighting men and women.
I would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate the spouses of military personnel who faced their own adversities from your time away from home and were in anguish for your welfare while temporarily raising children on their own.
Lest we forget.
Annually on Australia Day, we gather throughout the country to show our respect and gratitude. However, for the second year in a row, we are not permitted to convene in vast numbers amidst the ongoing coronavirus battle. Despite that, we will still commemorate your extraordinary efforts from our neighbourhood and individual homes. In these unusual times, we learn from your courage, resilience and camaraderie evident in the work of medical staff and firefighters at home.
Since we can’t be with you today, the care package/hamper included is a small token of our appreciation for your dedication and sacrifice. We hope you can enjoy it with those dear to you.
You have served us. Now let us serve you !
Linh Dang Nguyen