Today the Australian War Memorial announced that for the first time in Australia the original Long Tan cross will be on display from 17 August 2012.
The battle of Long Tan has come to symbolise our nation’s ten-year long involvement in the Vietnam War.
“The Long Tan cross is a memorial to the soldiers who fought and died at the battle of Long Tan,” said Ms Nola Anderson, Acting Director, Australian War Memorial. “The cross also acts as a reminder of the sacrifice of all those Australians who served in the Vietnam War”.
“The Australian War Memorial is proud to be able to display this important symbol from Australia’s history.”
On 18 August 1969, soldiers of 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC) placed the cross in the Long Tan rubber plantation in Phuoc Tuy province (now Ba Ria–Vung Tau province), South Vietnam.
The cross marked the site where three years earlier, on 18 August 1966, 108 soldiers of D Company, 6RAR, had fought a fierce battle against Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces.
“During Australia’s ten-year-long involvement in the Vietnam War, few battles were as intense or dramatic as Long Tan,” said Dr Peter Pedersen, Acting Assistant Director National Collection, Australian War Memorial. “The bravery, tenacity and sacrifice of Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Long Tan have become legendary.”
Following the communist victory in 1975 and the reunification of Vietnam, the Dong Nai Museum in Bien Hoa City acquired the Long Tan cross. In 1989 the Long Dat District People’s Committee erected a replica cross on the original site.
The original cross, on loan from the Dong Nai Museum and the Ministry of Culture, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, will be on display at the Australian War Memorial from 17 August 2012 until April 2013.
The public is invited to come to the Memorial and be part of a special closing ceremony at 4.45pm on Friday 17 August to commemorate the men who fought in the battle of Long Tan and to remember those who died.
All Australians who served during the Vietnam War will be recognisedat a commemorative closing ceremony on Saturday 18 August.
Tom Vasey (02) 6243 4575 0409 600 038 firstname.lastname@example.org
Marylou Pooley (02) 6243 4383 0412 646 298