Many times on this podcast the virtues of the Australians are extolled to the max. They were loyal and effective allies with us in the Vietnam War for which they paid a high price. 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam resulting in 521 deaths and 3,000 wounded, a high toll for a country of their population size.
In this episode the Australian kudos continue with two stories that back up the idea Australia and their citizens are outstanding. The stories are from The Wollondilly Advertiser titled: Picton High School honors the only Wollondilly soldier killed in the Vietnam War during their Anzac service submitted Ashleigh Tullis and WPRI of Providence, Rhode Island titled: Dog tags come home to Warwick thanks to stranger from down under submitted by Walt Buteau.
The first story is about how the small community of Picton in Wollondilly County, NSW, Australia honored the only person from the county who died in Vietnam. Ian Thomson from the Thirlmere community was only 22 years old when he was killed in action on October 19, 1968. He was a member of the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) and had only twelve days away from the end of his tour in country when he died.
On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Picton High School students honored Thomson’s memory during their Anzac service. Thomson’s family attended the ceremony. A teacher at Picton High School, Suzy Brandstater, said the school wanted to dedicate their Anzac ceremony to Ian Thomson. She said: “We want the students to understand the meaning behind why our local cadet unit guards the shrine to the fallen soldier and we want them to understand the sacrifice of Australian soldiers.”
The story from WPRI of Providence, Rhode Island tells about a tremendous act of kindness on the part of an unnamed Australian. He returned a missing dog tag to the family of the now deceased Vietnam Veteran, Kevin Belanger.
Both these stories attest to the notion Australia and its people are exceptionally outstanding.