WITH his ‘bible’ close by and canine ‘Ginge’ riding shotgun, Rob Eade will travel 45,000 kilometres around Australia laying flags at war memorials for fallen veterans.
The 71-year-old is heading for Tamworth, having already completed 16,000 kilometres, to lay an Australian flags for four locally born veterans.
Donald McKenzie Bourn was born on February 14, 1941 and was killed on his birthday in 1967.
“This is what gets me emotional, near birthdays and Christmas must have been so hard for the families.”
Gordon Cameron Sharp was born on March 17, 1945 and was killed at Long Tan on August 18, 1966.
Donald Spence Wride was born on July 12, 1943 and was killed on July 10, 1967, also very close to his birthday.
“It must really hurt parents every year trying to celebrate and commemorate at the same time.”
Douglas James Voyzey was born on November 15, 1947 and was killed on December 14, 1969.
A retired Vietnam veteran himself, Mr Eade’s mission began with a pub conversation in 2015 with a couple of his mates who were admiring a Can-Am Spyder.
“We were all having a laugh and I told them I’d travel around Australia on one of those one day, and look at me now,” he laughed.
An American sprinter inspired the idea to lay flags at war memorials in each fallen soldier’s birth town.
On June 18, 2016, he officially hit the road.
“There are 521 Vietnam veterans, which took me two-odd months to research and pop in my little book - I call it my bible - and divide them into states,” he said. Mr Eade then decided to honour fallen veterans from Vietnam right up to the current day.
“I’m commemorating the lives of service people who gave their all to our country, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”
With a set plan to travel Australia in three years, Mr Eade believed he was on track to completing his task in good time.
He said he found after war people often forgot about those who lost their lives, and focused more on the politics surrounding the event.
“It means so much to me that I am commemorating the boys and girls of war, and I don’t think there is enough of it in Australia.”
He hoped more would follow suit to recognise the people who lost their lives, not just the event.
On Good Friday, Mr Eade was in Wee Waa to lay a flag for Afghanistan veteran Nathan John Abrey Gallagher.
“The young fella I laid up, it was his birthday. His Mum and Dad were there, which really made me emotional to think how hard it would be for the families of these boys and girls.”
To follow Ginge and Rob’s journey like ‘Remembrance Ride OZ’ on Facebook.