50 YEARS LATER: Hervey Bay commemorated the 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan during Vietnam Veterans' Day ceremonies.
50 YEARS LATER: Hervey Bay commemorated the 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan during Vietnam Veterans' Day ceremonies. Valerie Horton

We will remember them

FOR more than 41 years the Hervey Bay cenotaph has not been updated.

That changed this week when the plaques of post 1975 conflicts were officially blessed at the Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony.

President of the Vietnam Veterans Association Hervey Bay sub-branch Bob Taylor said he had first contacted the council and the local RSL club last September to update the cenotaph.

Mr Taylor said he was told that if the organisation wanted the new plaques they would have to pay for it.

At a cost of about $2000 the association contracted a local stonemason and work began on recognising our young veterans.

"We had the plaques finished about three weeks ago but because we knew the 50th anniversary celebrations were this week we though we would hold off. Otherwise we would have had a separate ceremony," Mr Taylor said.

Retired chaplain Jeffrey Jarvis blessed the plaques in front of a 300 strong crowd of veterans, dignitaries and locals at Thursday's 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan.

At the time Mr Jarvis said "These were ordinary men accomplishing extraordinary things".

The conflicts that were added to the cenotaph were Rwanda, Indonesia, East Timor, Somalia, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan and Peacekeeping Operations.

Mr Taylor said the Veterans and Advice Centre, in the Hervey Bay railway station building behind the cenotaph, was an alcohol free environment for young and old veterans to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

"We cater for all veterans," he said.

The centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 12.30pm.