THE TAMWORTH RSL Sub-branch is backing nation-wide calls to introduce a dedicated day for young veterans.
President Bob Chapman said the city was honouring “recent vets” with a dedicated memorial expected to be unveiled next year, but it was also important to accord them a national day – just like all other veterans.
It follows calls at the the RSL annual conference to dedicate a national remembrance day for young veterans post-Vietnam War.
While the item was formally overturned in late May – due to the original proposed date of September 11 “being too Americanised” – Mr Chapman insists it is important to honour all veterans, including younger ones.
“It serves to be tradition that everyone commemorates WWI and WWII, and we are now getting down to individual conflicts like Korea, Vietnam,” Mr Chapman said.
“I think it’s only fitting that we don’t do individual conflicts, but let’s group them into recent vets.
“The general feeling among the Tamworth sub-branch members is that (recent vets) should be accorded a day and that’s why we’re assisting with their new memorial.”
It’s hoped the unveiling will coincide with the Tamworth RSL Sub-branch’s 100th birthday on May 5 next year.
Mr Chapman said the idea for a national day had been floated before, and expects the revised proposed date of July 11 will get off the ground at the annual conference next May.
Tamworth Young Veteran Rebecca Linich – a Lieutenant Nursing part of the peacekeeping force in the Solomon Islands, who served on the USS Mercy, providing humanitarian aid in the Pacific Rim – said it was important to remember young veterans who served, and continue to do so.
“A national day to remember (shows) the nation does respect our commitment,” she said.
“We’re trying to have the memorial done by May 5 to coincide with 100 years of Tamworth RSL Sub-branch, which helps bridges the gap.”
The nation’s perception of what constitutes a veteran is slowly shifting, with Tamworth Young Veterans leading the Anzac Day march this year. Young Veterans is an organisation raising awareness of the growing number of young veterans within local communities.