A gift of 105 crochet poppies has assured Vietnam veterans living in the north they are anything but forgotten.
Northern Sub Branch President Pedro Dawson says the poppies are a timely reminder that people care about their often-overlooked service.
The poppies were crafted by Centacare’s Work Ready Training sewing activity participants who recently presented them to the vets.
“We are forgotten,’’ says Pedro.
“That’s how we feel, so we were certainly very pleased to receive the poppies.’’
Of the 50,000 Australians who took part in the Vietnam conflict from 1962-75, more than 500 died and thousands more were wounded.
Those who returned faced criticism from a public that largely opposed the war. Troops were booed and sometimes spat on, and many went into hiding.
Forty-two years later, Pedro says many vets are still coming to grips with the after-effects of the war and so the simple gesture of receiving a symbol of remembrance is significant.
Centacare WRT supervisor Zoe Ammerlaan inspired participants to crochet the poppies after volunteering at the Northern Sub Branch.
WRT places jobseekers in activities for six months to help them develop skills and confidence to gain employment.
In addition to the poppies, participants in the Gilles Plains-based program have been making children’s clothing for distribution to vulnerable families through the Centa, at Elizabeth.
Pedro says some of the Sub Branch’s 107 members will wear the crochet flowers tomorrow as part of Anzac Day observances.
“They’ll be put to good use which is what I like!” he says.