Sunday, 18 August 2013

Vietnam Veteran's Day and Cherry Sundaes.

Before the regular part of my post tonight I wanted to take a minute and recognise the fact that today is Vietnam Veteran's Day.


The Australian War Memorial Website explains the day this way - 
Vietnam Veterans Day is commemorated on 18 August every year. The day was originally known as Long Tan Day, chosen to commemorate the men of D Company, 6RAR who fought in the battle of Long Tan in 1966. On that day, 108 Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought a pitched battle against over 2,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops in a rubber plantation not far from the small village of Long Tan. The Australians prevailed, but only after fighting in torrential rain for four hours. They were nearly overrun, but were saved by a timely ammunition resupply, accurate artillery fire from the nearby Australian base, and the arrival of reinforcements by armoured personnel carrier. Eighteen Australians lost their lives and 24 were wounded, the largest number of casualties in one operation since the Australian task force had arrived a few months earlier. After the battle the bodies of 245 enemy soldiers were found, but there was evidence that many more bodies had been carried away.
On the third anniversary of Long Tan, 18 August 1969, a cross was raised on the site of the battle by the men of 6RAR. Veterans from the battle gathered at the cross to commemorate the fallen, and the day was commemorated by them as Long Tan Day from then on. Over time, all Vietnam veterans adopted the day as one to commemorate those who served and died in Vietnam. In 1987, following the very successful Welcome Home parade for Vietnam veterans in Sydney, Prime Minister Bob Hawke announced that Long Tan Day would be known as Vietnam Veterans Day. Since then, it has been commemorated every year as the day on which the service of all those men and women who served in Vietnam is remembered.
I was only very young when our veterans returned home to Australia but I still remember feeling ashamed at the way our men and women were treated.  One of our recipients, a very long term RAAF member, shared with me that he had friends who told him they wished they had never returned to Australia because of the way they were treated.  I am sure there are others of you, many other of you, who know similar stories, especially as I know there are many Vietnam Veterans and their wives and families who are, one way or another, linked to Aussie Heroes.

There are three main reasons I started Aussie Heroes and one was the strong feeling that none of our returning Heroes should ever be made to feel that way again.  That is one reason Aussie Heroes has the motto -

"We care about the people, not the politics or the mission."

So, lets take a minute to remember all those who served their country by going to Vietnam when they were called to do so.






I am managed to indulge myself today.  My handsome husband has headed off to go Gliding for the day and won't be back till early evening.  The teen is unlikely to come out of either of the caves that are euphemistically called his bedroom and his office (yes two rooms, lucky isn't he!  but we needed somewhere for the drum kit, keyboards and computer!) so I am going to start sewing as soon as I finish writing this post.  YAY!!!    

The bulk of last week was spent on getting ready to have a huge mail out of 15 quilts on Friday (again thanks for your help Laurel and Kerry!!!) plus I was working on a answering questions for magazine article and sourcing a good range of photos to accompany it - can't say too much as I have no idea when it will be published and these things are often done months in advance.  I also realised I had to re-vamp my standard presentation as will be speaking to another Community Club on Monday the 26th.  I wanted to update it and also was required to reduce it from 30 minute to 20 minutes.  (Me? Say less?  Yes, it was a struggle........but only because I love to talk about AHQ of course!)  Plus it was time to update the photos and add in new ones and find others to amplify points for my Power Point Presentation.  


By the way, I am clueless with Power Point but thankfully we now have a Grand Poo Bar of AHQ Power Points (Aussie Heroes is not prone to stuffy titles).  I am delighted to say that one of our returned recipients from South Sudan has taken on the role, in fact volunteered for it enthusiastically, and even coined his own title (rather unwittingly) and is now going to sort all my Power Point Presentations out from now on!  Ahhh the wonders of modern technology that it can all be done over the net, well and with a few phone calls so that he can talk CLUELESS me through what I have to do!  I really should do a TAFE course on technology but then I probably should weed my garden too and that ain't happening either!  LOL!!


Before I started AHQ I was known (not always politely) as an over achiever in my quilt group as I sewed all the time.  LOL  These days not so much.  Not that I am complaining mind you.   Remember, I read all the unabridged thank you messages and requests and learn all the back stories of the people that we sew for.  I also get all the Facebook PMs (personal messages) from the wives, mothers, girlfriends, partners and so on and get to know the families just a little along the way.  Occasionally I have the privilege of meeting a recipient and maybe their family.   I wish I could share more on the blog but you know I have to protect the privacy of everyone for security, but also for their own sake.  All of those experiences combine to make me LOVE what I do and care deeply about who I do it for so if I have to leave the bulk of the sewing to others so be it. 


BUT that said - if I get a day to sew then I suggest you stand clear and stay out of my sewing room or things could get ugly!  I still love sewing and cannot think of anyone I would rather sew for!


Just a few requests to share - there have been others but not all of them need to go on the blog.  Short and simple requests come in all the time that say things like 


"We love what you do, please can I request a quilt for myself" and whilst they get the job done reading lots of those would not be rivetting so I save the longer ones to share with you.


Here are four for tonight - and by the way, none of these have been allocated so if they are appealing to you just let me know.


.....


Hello Ma'am

XXXXX has passed on your details to the team over here, and I would like to thank you and your team for the great work you are doing. It is a great feeling knowing that we always have the support from home.

If you don't get too busy, I would love a quilt. My interests are Carlton AFL club, Melbourne Storm NRL club and Beer.
Keep up the awesome work. 


.....


Ma'am,

I am currently serving with the RAAF in the MEAO and found out about the brilliant work that you and your amazing team do.

I wish to enquire about obtaining one of these gifts.

Could you send me instructions on what is required from me.

Kindest Regards,

.....

Having seen the quality of the quilts and laundry bags that your volunteers produce I understand that a lot of hard work goes into them and they are not made overnight. My wife is due to give birth to our first child 3 weeks after I return from deployment. I would like to pass a quilt on to my child in the hope that they will be a St George supporter like me (I know that sounds a little corny). Thank you again for your consideration and a massive thank you to all your volunteers who do a magnificent job. I know everyone, including myself who has received a gift from them is eternally grateful.  

.....


And this one is for two females, just in case you are interested.


Hello,


I am currently deployed to Afghanistan for the rest of the year. I was hoping to get on your list for a laundry bag. I have a very plain one at the moment and have seen your great bags everywhere.
I would also like to have something special to take home so my son can remember my time serving the country.
I would appreciate anything.
Further, I have a very good friend who is over here for the first time and I would like to put her name down to receive a quilt or laundry bag - her name is XXXXXXX and I just know she would appreciate anything sent to her.
Thanks again for all the great support you give to us all - it means a great deal, especially as we are away from our family and friends.

.....


Big laundry bag sewing day at Hobbysew in Kings Park tomorrow.  Around 15 ladies sewing laundry bag and probably many of them I have not met yet!  Someone remind me to take my camera and actually USE it please.


And now I am headed for the sewing machine so STAND CLEAR!!


Till next time...................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx


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