Vietnam | Remembering our Fallen Heroes | Book
Vivienne Nguyen, Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission
I was very privileged to contribute to the book Remembering our Fallen Heroes: The Story of the Vietnam War Memorial and Commemorative Garden. The book is an expression of gratitude to and acknowledgement of the 521 Australian soldiers who fought and died in Vietnam. The Vietnamese community raised funds for the book and designed it with Vietnam War veterans.
This book strikes a chord with me, not so much because I was deeply involved in the project, but the emotional connection to who I am as a person, my heritage and the experiences that undoubtedly shaped my values, attitudes and indeed priorities in life.
For many Australians and people around the world, the Vietnam War was a controversial one. For many Australian service men and women who served in different capacities in Vietnam, the memory is not favourable in many ways. The Australian Government’s commitment to the war, the ‘Birthday Ballot’ that selected men and women to serve in Vietnam through a lottery draw, and the way returning soldiers were treated – these were all controversial.
One chapter in the book is about the migration of 56,000 Vietnamese refugees to Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s – a very different figure to today’s intake of refugees and asylum seekers.
The book also highlights the emotional connection many Vietnamese refugees have to their flag, presented as a yellow background with three stripes, which connects them as neighbours and friends with a shared journey.
I love and respect this book, its contents and the people who put it together. Where does one go without one’s beginning? Nowhere.
Publisher: Vietnamese Museum Australia
‘Remembering Our Fallen Heroes’ is available from the Vietnamese Museum Australia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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