The Vietnam War had a terrible impact on many people. One group that suffered heavily was that of the mothers who lost a son or daughter over there. Just in America alone there are 58,307 names of fallen service members on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC. Each one of those names are connected to a mother whose life was forever changed the day she received word her dear son or daughter made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in Vietnam.
Along with American mothers, there were many in our allied countries in that war who suffered the same terrible experience of losing a loved one. There was a story from ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio Canberra titled: Unopened tin of Anzac biscuits contains a mother’s grief for son killed in Vietnam War that told the sad story of one of those mothers. The story was submitted by Louise Maher Of ABC Radio Canberra.
Maher tells the story of Adelaide Hendle, and her son Terry Hendle who was cut down so early in life at the young age of 20 while serving in Vietnam. He was killed by enemy action at Nui Dat in November 1966. He left behind a widow and baby daughter.
What sets this poignant story apart from many others is something Adelaide did for her son during the six months he was in country. On a regular basis she would send him a tin of Anzac biscuits. In America they would be known as Anzac cookies and the tin would be just like the ones we used to get with fruit cakes around Christmas time and would be used for cookie storage the rest of the year.
The last batch of cookies sent to Terry were in a tin decorated with an artist’s impression of the Sydney Opera House. They arrived the very day his was killed. They were sent back to his mother along with the rest of his personal effects. His mother never opened the tin and kept it for the thirty three years she lived after her son’s passing and the same unopened tin of Anzac cookies were passed on to his sister. Later they were donated to the Australian War Memorial (AWM) where they remain to this day as a symbol of the supreme sacrifice of an Australian mother.