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Vietnam veteran looks back on his welcome home

Australian singer-songwriter and Vietnam War veteran Normie Rowe has reflected on his service, and healing after finally being welcomed home.

After being conscripted in 1969, Mr Rowe climbed the ranks from driver, to radio operator, to crew commander.

But when he and his fellow troops returned home to Australia, they were barely welcomed, much less honoured.

Even after more than a decade the RSL’s National Congress refused to back a ‘welcome home’ parade, forcing NSW to go it alone in 1987.

Mr Rowe told Deborah Knight the parade was one of the most special moments in his life.

“We approached the top of the hill and looked down, and there were thousands lined up with their banners, in their suits. It was the most thrilling sight.

“From that moment on … we could start saying ‘we’re going to heal now. We can get better’.”

Image: Australian War Memorial

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