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New Zealand To Mark Vietnam Veterans’ Day

On Tuesday 18 August, New Zealand will mark Vietnam Veterans’ Day. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the commemorative service to remember the conflict is unable to take place. Instead, an Act of Remembrance will be held at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

“Although we cannot hold a public event this year, Vietnam Veteran’s Day remains an important occasion in the lives of many New Zealanders,” says Brodie Stubbs, Manager Te Pae Mahara at Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“More than 3,000 New Zealand military personnel served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972.
“In addition, some 300 civilian medical and aid workers travelled from New Zealand to help the people of South Vietnam.

“Thirty-nine New Zealanders including two civilians lost their lives. Many more were wounded or suffered the effects of toxins such as Agent Orange—effects which have continued into succeeding generations.

“The conflict also occurred during a period of significant social change in New Zealand, with increasing cynicism about our involvement in international conflict.

“Vietnam Veterans’ Day is therefore an important opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of those who died, and to acknowledge the ongoing impact of the war for those who came home as well as on their families.

“We also reflect on the heavy human cost of the war to Vietnamese people,” says Brodie Stubbs.

Sometimes referred to as the Second Indo-China War or the American War, the conflict in Vietnam lasted from about 1960 until 1975. It is often described as the longest and most contentious military experience of the 20th century.

More information about New Zealand’s involvement in the conflict is available at NZHistory.govt.nz and on the Vietnam War Oral History Project website.

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