Friday, August 18, 2006

Today in History: Long Tan

Working a six-day week tends to push posting out of the daily schedule. I'm compensating by launching my 'Today in History' series, which will spruik anniversaries I think noteworthy or which happen to fall on days when I can't find time to write something original.

Today that happens to be the Battle of Long Tan, which with Gallipoli and Kokoda makes up the ANZAC holy trinity. One could argue Long Tan was a less exceptional engagement than its fellows, being a typical case of Vietcong assaults chewed up by allied firepower. It is remarkable for Hanoi's tolerance of westerners arriving on its soil to commemorate a communist rout, so long as they bring foreign currency. Some Aussie veterans are even choosing to settle there, as an exotic and presumably more friendly alternative to Queensland.

On a less cynical note, the recognition that Long Tan is giving vets both here and in Vietnam shines brightly at a time when war commemoration is overshadowed by geopolitics, or by the far Left mantra that soldiering is inherently reprehensible. And, in a rare case of history trumping politics, Aussie vets will get to fly the old South Vietnamese flag over war memorials and get federal funding for it too.

1 comment:

John Lee said...

of course, that's not to say that the war was right...