Australia honors national servicemen in memorial service

13:31, September 08, 2010      

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Thousands of Australians on Wednesday gathered in Canberra to commemorate the contribution of Australia's national servicemen.

The ceremony began with ex-servicemen marching along Anzac Parade. A fountain memorial is being dedicated to the 287,000 national servicemen who served in the Defense Force between 1950 and 1972.

More than 200 died on active service in Vietnam and Borneo.

National Servicemen's Association spokesman Allen Callaghan said the memorial has taken nine years to come together.

"It means closure for our families, it means recognition of our service. It means that our contribution to Australia's defenses will live on in this beautiful memorial," Callaghan told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"We particularly wanted to have the water so you can hear the sound and it sounds like a waterfall. The moving water symbolizes the lives that were lost."

Australian War Memorial Council chairman General Peter Cosgrove said national servicemen made up over a third of Australia's army force in Vietnam.

"There is no doubt that the army received through national service, young men of the highest fitness and aptitude for training as soldiers," he said in Canberra.

"Regular army officers from the most senior to battalion and company commanders, consistently remarked upon the outstanding quality of the national serviceman," he added.

Source: Xinhua


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