Thursday, August 13, 2009

Long Tan Day or Viettnam Vet's day

This is for the Nam Vets I know and for all those I’m yet to meet
God Bless each and every one of you and
“Welcome Home”
For those who are no longer with us, may you
Rest in Peace.

18th August every year is Long Tan Day, when we stop and remember our Vietnam Vets. I know there are many Vets in the world from all different War’s and believe me they have my utmost respect, but the Nam Vet’s hold a special place in my heart as I’m married to a Nam Vet.
Nam Vets are some of the proudest men I know, they don’t ask or expect help from anyone and when they do ask for help, it because they need it badly, and then they have to fight to get the help they need, because our Government has no bloody idea how bad it is for some of these men. How long will they have to fight, it been forty years now, For God sake these men have been to War for this country, will there fight ever end.
I can only talk about what I know; Ross has been fighting to get the Vet pension for seven years. For seven years, paper work has been going backwards and forwards, from doctor to Ross to Government departments over and over, there been medicals and test, there been visit to the psychiatrist, there been the odd operation and the list goes on, are we any close to the end of all this No I don’t think so. You see they want proof and there no way of getting proof for what they want, you see a lot come back to Agent Orange and for that there is no proof there is only the word of the men who where there and what they believe in their hearts and soul to be true.
It like when they send Ross to the psychiatrist, I have to go too, so they can put me through the 3rd degree to make sure he not lying to them, some of the things they ask me are so personal and so bloody hurtful and degrading. Only one psychiatrist has ever taken in to count, that I love this man and that we been married twenty six years, the rest have treated me like I was a no body.
Having said all that, I also know my Ross is one of the lucky ones, for I know men who are, so much worse off than Ross, who are in unbelievable pain day in and day out, who need help and are not getting it and this make me so very mad, for they have every right to be help, and they should not have to beg for the help they need.
I have seen how many of our Nam Vet have suffered and are still suffering, because they did what their country asks them to do and now it about time, for this Government got off it butt and do what is right by these men, they have wait forty years and that forty years to long for most of them and for some it too late now.
Is this only happening to Australian Nam Vets no, it happening to all Nam Vat’s, they when to Vietnam because there Government ask them to go, now it time there Governments got of their butt and help these men out!!
You know what really worries me, now today as I write this, we have men and woman from our Army, Air Force, Navy and Peace Keepers, in many country in the world, and like the Nam Vet’s, they are there doing the job this Government sent them to do, now what worries me is when they get home, will they have to go through the same hell, that that the Nam Vet’s are going through to get any help they need.
Now I would like to ask you all to do one thing for me on the 18th of August, if you see a Nam Vets, where ever you live, Please, shake his hand and “Welcome Him Home”
The rest of this blog is something I wrote six months ago and blog, for those of you who have read it I hope you don’t mind that I’m blogging it again, this year Long Tan Day, well it feel different, I don’t know why, maybe it that I’m beginning to think, these men will never see justice done, but all I know is this year it just feel so different.

S.M. Mac Arthur©

Vietnam Vet’s

On the wall in our home is a Picture frame, in it is photos of Ross take in Vietnam, a medal, badge, certificate and his dog tags. Some time I can walk past it and I’m ok, but at certain time of the year, like ANZAC Day it has me in tears. Because the pictures are of a young man of twenty who was conscripted to the army, who did what his country ask him to do, but on his return to the country of this birth was treated like a criminal.
For me the first I knew about the Vietnam War was, when I was about ten or eleven, only one young man in my home town was conscripted to go to Vietnam, I can’t really remember him going, but I can remember him coming home. He had changed so much from how I remember him, he was now a very quite person. It was like he had lost his soul.
I can remember he was doing a job at the pub for Dad, he was out the back in the yard I took him out morning tea, we were talking, when this man his age come into the yard, and called his name. They have been in Vietnam together. This was the first time I think I had ever seen real mateship, there was no need for words, there was this bond between these two men, that didn’t need any words.
I know for some people who don’t know or are not married to a Vet’s from any War, find it hard to understand how these Vet suffer from the time they spent serving their country. I know Ross is one of the lucky one he has very few problems, but for some, they suffer so much.
I can only talk about Vietnam Vet’s because they are the one I know most about, some of these men suffer so bad from what they had to do and what they saw as young men doing the job their country ask them to do.
Ross talks about being sprayed with that wonderful mix they call Agent Orange, and how over night the forest for miles around would die, and how everything would be wet from it, tents, cloths and worst of all the men. It would be sprayed over the camps and the men to keep the forest at bay, so they could see the enemy coming. Many Vietnam Vets have disable children, for some it’s just not the one child, some have never been able to have their own children and like us have adopted. Some have fat lumps over their body not just one or two, but too many to count, some men like Ross have had to have the big ones (the size of a softball) cut out. Many have skin problems that Doctors can’t find a cause for and can’t seem to stop them from getting them. Most I know believer this is all from being sprayed with Agent Orange.
Many talk of nightmares, from what they have seen, nightmares that are still with them forty years later, nightmares only another Vet can understand, seeing your mate die and not being able to stop it or do anything to help, some say all they want was time to say goodbye, but as we know in war there never time for thing like that. There is a poem called “One Child Lost” by Larry W. Gordon, the poem talk about him see a child died from a mortar attack in Vietnam and the horror he feels. I can’t blog it all here as it too long, but the last few lines read.

Down the years
I’ve borne this dream
Of horror, and death
It never seems
To darken nor diminish
And will be with me,
Until my life is finished,
I weep still
And weigh the cost,
Vietnam isn’t worth
Even one child lost.

For some man they found it hard to get on with their lives when they got back, people thought they would just move back into the job they left and all would be ok, and for some that how it was, they found they could shut it all out, but for most it didn’t work that way, some to this day are still looking to find their way back. Ross works for a group call Legacy, we have had people call us asking if we know someone they looking for, mostly a brother or son, one lady I ask when she last saw her brother, she told me the day he got home, forty odd years later she was still looking for him. So many men are home here in Australia but they are still lost to the ones who love them.
I have talk to some Vietnam Vet from overseas; this is just not like this for Aussie Vet, it like it for Vet all over the world,
I know many Vets who are disabled or partly disable from their time in Vietnam, to get any help from the Government they have to fight, for every single thing, when will their fight end, they don’t want that much, some only want help to pay their medical bills, some are fighting to get the pension, do they not deserve the pension after fighting for our freedom.
Vietnam was the first war where every day on our T.V and radio, we could see and hear what was going on, as it was happening, people could see the horror that was happening to our soldiers, the where march in the street here to bring our soldiers home, yet when they got home they were treated like criminals.
Many Vietnam Vet feel like they have let people down, to me it is us who have let them down. For God sake it took us forty years to Welcome these men home. How can this be, we welcome home our sporting hero for wining a test match. But it takes use forty year to Welcome Home men who fight for our country.
We now have Soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and Peace Keepers in many country around the world, I hope for them when they get home they are Welcome Back as they should be, as Hero, for that what they are, they are the best Australia has and to me any one who put on a uniform and fights for this country is and always will be “A Hero”.
S.M. Mac Arthur©

As I’m posting this we just had word to say Ross has been knocked back on the pension again. Eight months ago they told Ross to get it he need to be working part time and that what he been doing, now they say he working one hour a week to much. The Advocate who is helping us say, we are not finish yet and then he not giving up on us.

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