Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

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Category: Conflicts/Vietnam

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The Welcome Home March, 3 October 1987

Because many men returned from Viet Nam in small groups it was not possible to have grand parades for them. 

When Battalions returned they usually marched through the streets of a major city but these often attracted the rabid rat bag element of the Anti War, Anti Conscription, Anti Government and Anti Anything crowd. 

Many Viet Nam vets were bitter about the treatment they received from an indifferent populace and an angry Rent A Crowd. 

Many still are.

Special beer cans were produced for the occasion.
The Parade of Flags, 1 each for the "Unlucky 500" who did not return.
Vets from the Soudan, Boxer Rebellion, Boer War, WW1 and WW2 were held in high esteem on their return. Vets from Malaya and Korea were ignored but tolerated if encountered. Viet Nam vets felt somewhat cheated, firstly because they were hampered in (even stopped from) winning the war by the very political system that sent them and then secondly because they were abused by the people that they represented.
  • It should be remembered that in the Federal Election (1966) held after committing combat troops (1965) the Government of the day INCREASED it's majority by 19 seats in the House of Reps. 
  • The people agreed with sending troops. Only in 1968 did the tide turn.
After successful Welcome Home Marches in the USA a group of people organised one to be held in Sydney. Despite early and dire warnings of trouble from agitators and indifference from the general public it was a tremendous success. ABC-TV broadcast it in full to 288 TV stations around the country.
As well as the Welcome Home March veterans from the Viet Nam War now receive a hearty applause in all cities and towns at the Anzac Day Marches. They have, at last, "Come Home".

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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces