Heroes stand tall as abuse is replaced by praise
WITH courage equal to what he must have displayed fighting in the rice paddies of Vietnam, Gladstone resident Trevor John Davis mustered the fortitude to talk about his experiences and how he was treated on his return to Australia.
"It is with great honour and pride that I stand here before you today," he said on Vietnam Veterans Day on Monday.
"Today my memories run high as I remember another day back in 1969. On that day, Remembrance Day, I marched to the cenotaph in Sydney.
"The reception I and fellow soldiers received was very different to today. We were abused, with eggs and tomatoes thrown at us.
"We were called murderers and baby killers.
"I myself was called up for national service in February 1967 and was sent to Vietnam just six months later in August '68.
"Not only was I dealing with the threat of death and the horrors of war, I was leaving behind my wife and fourth-born son who was only two weeks old, I was 21 years old.
"I was posted in the Headquarters Battery 12th Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery.
"While in Vietnam I was involved in various patrols and some contacts with the enemy.
"My experiences in Vietnam were mixed; some good some not so good.
"We experienced some fun times, but the horrors outweighed those few times.
"When I was 10 years old I marched with my father and wore his medals on Anzac Day. At that young age I had no idea of what my father went through to earn those medals.
"I did find that out for myself when I went to Vietnam.
"I hope that days like this help people remember the horror and sacrifice that soldiers made in the defence of our country. For them the war never ended."