Today, ANZAC Day, marks 100 years since Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. War veterans, family members and the greater Australian community will spend this day to reflect on the sacrifices Australia and New Zealand’s servicemen and women made over the decades during times of conflict. Some of those servicemen were relatives of mine, and I am truly grateful of the sacrifices my family members made for me, my family and my future.
My father, my uncle and his brother were involved in the conflict during the Vietnam War. My uncle and his brother served in the Australian Army and my dad served with the Royal Australian Navy. Thankfully, all three men returned home safely. Though, for anguished families back home, many did not.
Seymour, a town of about 6000 people, is just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne. It is here where travellers can find the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk to honour and remember those men and women who served during the Vietnam War. It is a winding wall of panels engraved with over 60,000 names of these men and women, including my relatives, and imagery to reflect those days of war and personal experiences. Seymour was chosen as the site for the walk due to its military history. Troops who served in the Boer War trained in nearby hills before they departed for the battlefields abroad.
The wall is also surrounding by fledgling eucalypts through which a light breeze blows. While sleepy locals drive past on occasion, travellers to the wall can pace the length of the wall across a red earth path and feel a sobering peace flow over them. Many travellers before have laid red poppies against the names of family members and loved ones along the wall. Poppies were some of the first flowers to blossom across battlefields of France and Belgium, so have since been a symbol of respect for deceased servicemen and women on ANZAC Day.
Nearby, an information kiosk stands to provide travellers with more information about the Vietnam War and the commemorative wall itself. It’s not uncommon to find volunteers at the kiosk fundraising for the upkeep of the area and are more than willing to tell the story of this important memorial site – the only one in Australia that’s dedicated only to Vietnam veterans. Travellers can make a donation or purchase poppies if they wish, to show their respects at the wall too.
The Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk is located in High Street at the junction of Emily Street and Tallarook Street in Seymour, Victoria. Access is free but be sure to leave a donation so this memorial can continue to stand for generations to come. Visit the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk’s website for more information.