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The 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan was supposed to be a truly memorable event with thousands of Australians making the pilgrimage to the old Australian battle grounds to commemorate. What went wrong? Why, some are asking, weren’t we welcomed there like we were by the people of Turkey at Gallipoli?
Signs apparently were building that the Vietnamese government was becoming increasingly uneasy about the commemorations – an event which would undoubtedly have translated closer to “celebrations” to the Vietnamese authorities. Even Little Pattie was making a return appearance for a concert, echoing her performance at the nearby Australian military base at Nui Dat on the day of the battle back in 1966. This added to the sense of Australian victory and increasing Vietnamese unease.
Read Understanding what went wrong at Long Tan by John Blaxland published in the Canberra Times.