After more than 18 months of planning in consultation with local authorities, the Vietnamese government advised the Australian government that it would not permit the ceremony to commemorate Vietnam Veteran’s Day at the Long Tan cross site on 18 August to proceed, with less than 48-hours notice.
However, in a last-minute turnaround, smaller groups of veterans were allowed to attend the site and lay wreaths.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the government was deeply disappointed at this decision and the manner in which it was taken so close to the commemoration service taking place.
“Australia’s Ambassador has registered our deep concerns with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs. The government is seeking urgent calls with Vietnamese counterparts at the most senior levels to register our concerns,” Mr Tehan said.
“Australia has been working closely with Vietnamese authorities for 18 months to prepare for this event.
“Memorial events have been held at Long Tan since 1989.
“Australian veterans and their families had planned to attend a ceremony at Long Tan marked by mutual respect to remember and honour the sacrifice of those lost in the Vietnam War from both sides.
“For many veterans, this would have been their first visit to Vietnam since the war.
“For the more than 1000 Australians who have travelled to Vietnam to attend the 50th anniversary memorial service this is bitterly disappointing news.”
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