Barrier thinking

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  • Published 20150414
  • ISBN: 9781922182807
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IN VIETNAM, MINES accounted for half of the Second Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) soldiers killed in action. Two of those killed on mines were among the nine South Australian members of the Battalion who died on active service, and who are listed on the memorial in Adelaide that was dedicated to them in April 2014. The invitation, which Tom Young extended to me on behalf of the Battalion Association, was to speak at the dedication on why I wrote my book, The Minefield: An Australian Tragedy in Vietnam (Allen & Unwin, 2007). It was indeed an honour, and I became all the more mindful of that tribute when Tom, who worked for some three years on the memorial project, sadly died a few weeks before he could see it realised.

In Australian culture, memorials have long tended to have a dual function. They are sites of remembrance for everyone; but for the families of the fallen and members of the wider unit family, they are also sites of sorrow. Grieving for loved ones and mates may be eased over time, but will never end.

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