Riding to remember veterans

16 Mar 2016 Seymour Telegraph, Seymour VIC (General News) Vet Ride 2016 kicked off on Monday, with more than 100 cyclists taking part. The national cycling event, which is open to the public, is a commemorative 680 km ride which honours the 521 Australian veterans killed in the Vietnam War. The ride is an initiative of the Victorian branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, and will pay homage to the military bases passed along the way where so many men and women trained before embarking on operational service. The ride began along Seymours Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk on Monday, and took in 122.8 km on route to Benalla on the first day. The ride will finish on Sunday at the National Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra. This is a great chance to turn out and honour the sacrifice of our Vietnam veterans. Youll be supporting a great cause, and boosting the local economy too, Veterans Minister John Eren said. The Victorian VetRide service and sacrifice route is an important part of our commemorative activities in 2016, honouring those who were involved in the Vietnam War, VVAA Victorian branch state president Bob Elworthy (AM) said. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, where 108 brave young men from D Company RAR resisted an attack of more than 1500 Viet Cong soldiers in what became one of the most extraordinary chapters in Australias military history. This is an important event as part of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and a great way to say thank you to our diggers past and present, member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said. VetRide 2016 is also a great opportunity to make friends and commemorate the servicemen and women who did us proud. Ms Symes said the Vietnam War had forever changed our nations story. Many Victorians have a connection with war and a story to tell, the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan is a chance to reflect on the most decisive moments in Australias history, Ms Symes said. Caption Text: And theyre off: Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes blows the horn to signal the start of VetRide (above) and below the cyclists are off and racing in VetRide. Copyright Agency licensed copy (www.copyright.com.au)