Brief and precious years after father, son reunited
THEY spent more than 20 years with hardly any contact, but now William Summers struggles to imagine Anzac Day without remembering the brief but special time he had knowing his father.
Donning his father Ian Robert Summers' five medals from the Vietnam War, tears welled in William's eyes yesterday as he remembered his dad who he reunited with seven years ago.
His parents separated just after he was born but William decided, at about 20-years-old, it was time to rekindle with his father.
Ian was enlisted to Vietnam with the Royal Australian Navy at 21, and served for 156 days before returning to Australia due to a bout of malaria.
When William decided it was time to find his dad, he had met his now wife Averil, and they were considering starting a family of their own. Now the Agnes Water couple share five-year-old son, Carter.
Willliam reached out to the Department of Veterans Affairs who helped track down his father, a Vietnam veteran who turned to cray and shark fishing after his year-long stint at war.
At first they kept in contact by writing letters and exchanging phone calls, and four years ago Ian moved to Miriam Vale to be closer to his children William, and his daughter who lives in Calliope.
Averil said the similarities between William and his dad were uncanny, from their facial features to their love for fishing and hunting.
Reuniting with his dad also led to William meeting his half brother Robert, who lives in Adelaide.
"He was a nice man, we had everything in common too," William said.
Now Ian is one of the six names on a plaque dedicated to fallen soldiers from the Royal Australian Navy who were from or lived in the Agnes Water region.
It was one of three new plaques, paid for by the Agnes Water Seventeen Seventy RSL Sub Branch and a Queensland Government grant, unveiled during yesterday's Anzac Day service at the Agnes Water cenotaph.
Yesterday was the second time William had marched without his father since they reunited. Ian died in March last year.
Now he and Averil have instilled the Anzac spirit into their son Carter.
"He came home from school yesterday and he said he wanted to march," Averil said.
"He told us that Poppy Ian is in the clouds."