'They do care': Veteran in awe by student interest
FOR Gladstone Vietnam veteran Trevor Davis, seeing a younger generation of Australians show a greater respect for service people has put a new perspective on his life.
The former soldier, who now works as a teacher-aide at Gladstone State High School and Toolooa State High School, has witnessed an increase of appreciation towards Diggers at school ceremonies.
Mr Davis said the gesture has made his life "come full circle”.
"The interest that the kids have shown in my service - some of the kids come up and quote bits of my speech to me (months later),” he said.
He gives the Anzac Day ceremony speech at Gladstone State High each year.
"(Afterwards, the students) all stand around me and ask me different things.”
Mr Davis has also seen students attend public services outside the ones conducted in school.
"To me, that's just incredible - they do care.”
It is a stark difference to how he was treated after coming home from Vietnam.
"I marched on Remembrance Day in 1969 at the cenotaph in Sydney and people threw things at me, called me a murderer and a baby killer,” Mr Davis said.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, Vietnam veterans were treated badly for many years due to the negative public perception of the war.
However, after 1987, attitudes started to change.
"More people have said 'thank you for your service' in the last five years than my whole life.
"I still get emotional on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans Day.”
Mr Davis remains humble despite his service.
"I hate being called a hero,” he said.
"That's for someone that does something extraordinary, I just did what I had to do.”
Vietnam Veterans Day is held on August 18 each year and was known as Long Tan Day. Almost 60,000 Australians fought in the Vietnam War, 500 lost their lives.