The annual commemoration was originally known as Long Tan Day.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of New Zealand’s deployment in a combat role in the Vietnam War. Age might have wearied the veterans a little but their voices were strong as they sang along with Vietnam War ballad Green, Green Grass of Home at the beginning of the remembrance ceremony.
Veterans whose quality of life was compromised by exposure to chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange during their service in Vietnam were especially acknowledged in a speech by Lynette Stankovich, wife of Vietnam War veteran Padre Wally Te Ua.
In 2008, former prime minister Helen Clark publicly acknowledged New Zealand veterans’ war service and the fact they were exposed to toxic chemicals and that many struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), said Ms Stankovich.