COMPULSORY military service was remembered yesterday on National Service Day.
But it will be another month before Tamworth district national servicemen mark the occasion.
Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon urged all Australians to remember the contribution of national servicemen (“nashos”) who were called up to strengthen defence forces.
“We honour their courageous efforts and remember the sacrifice of some 200 killed and 1200 wounded during the Vietnam War,” he said.
National service schemes operated during World War I and II, the 1950s and, most recently from 1964 to 1972 when more than 63,000 were called up for service in Vietnam.
The Oxley branch of the National Servicemen’s Association will hold its commemoration service on March 23 at 5pm at the memorial in Railway Park on Marius St, Tamworth.
Mr Snowdon said he recognised that compulsory service had always been a controversial issue.
“Yet you can guarantee that each one of these men were proud to serve their country, something I know is reflected in the attitude shown by our troops serving overseas today,” he said.
Opposition veterans affairs spokesman Michael Ronaldson said those who served in National Service deserved to be proud of their service to the people of Australia.
“When all is said and done these young men did what their nation asked of them and our nation owes them much for this dedication to duty,” he said in a statement.
Senator Ronaldson said the role of the National Service schemes was forever enshrined in the National Service Memorial at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
“Our national servicemen, and their families, have a place for contemplation and reflection at the heart of our nation’s principal place of commemoration and honour,” he said.