By Kath Gannaway
Vietnam veteran Tim Fischer AC will be guest speaker at the 2017 Vietnam Veterans Day commemoration at Warburton on Sunday, 13 August.
Mr Fischer’s military service came ahead of a high-profile political career in which he rose to leader of the National Party, Deputy Prime Minister in the Howard Government and, on retirement from parliament, Australian Ambassador to the Pope.
Called up in 1966, Mr Fischer served as a platoon commander and transport officer with the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment before seeing active duty in South Vietnam in 1968-’69.
Some 20 years later he served as Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
In conjunction with the Yarra Valley Vietnam Veterans Association, the Yarra Valley community of RSL sub-branches have been sharing the hosting of their annual day of commemoration since 2004.
Veterans from Yarra Glen, Healesville, Warburton, Upper Yarra, Mt Evelyn, Marysville, Croydon and Lilydale will be taking part this year.
Warburton RSL president Lindsay Fisher said the Warburton RSL and the YVVVA were pleased to have two excellent speakers in Tim Fischer and Casey MP and Federal Speaker of the House Tony Smith.
He said the march got bigger each year, reflecting a changing attitude in terms of recognition of the role played, the sacrifice made and the ongoing legacy endured by Australia’s 60,000 Australian servicemen and women in Vietnam.
The march will assemble at 10.10am at the Warburton football ground and head off at 10.40am, led by the Rats of Tobruk Pipe and Drum Band, through the town to the cenotaph for the service at 11am.
There will be refreshments in the Mechanics Institute Hall for those taking part in the march and the YVVVA will run a free sausage sizzle for other community members.
The Outer Eastern Melbourne Vietnam Veterans Association is hosting an afternoon of music featuring the Yarra River Band at the Alpine Retreat Hotel from 2pm to 5pm.
Contact Lindsay Fisher on 5966 5118 or Dennis Reeves on 5966 2667 for more information.