The early part of day six of the rideabout, was spent paying my respects to my Australian Brothers who also fought in the Vietnam war. When I first talked to Jock about coming to Australia I mentioned to him that one of the things most important to me whilst in Australia was to visit their memorial to their Vietnam Vets, he assured me that this would be part of our plan.
As we rode around Canberra looking for the memorial we passed by many of the government buildings, I sure hope I remember these building correctly, I think this is the new capital building. While taking this and a couple of other photos the mobile security team asked us to move on, they didn't want us stopped near any of the buildings, I guess a couple of old gray haired guys looked like terrorists to them.
This is the new government building.
The Australian flag.
The old government house.
Looking back at the new government house from where all the war memorials are located.
There is a long boulevard along both sides of which are located memorials to all who have served in all the wars that Australia has participated in, we were pressed for time so I didn't get the chance to view all of them as I would have liked to. We did spend about 15 minutes at the Vietnam memorial, seeing this memorial, and especially reading the words engraved on its stone walls brought back many old memories both good and bad. My Armored unit several times worked with the Aussie Armored Troops, I am glad to have had the privilege to honor them by viewing this memorial.
I urge you to go to my Smugmug page and view this and other photos of the words on the inside of this memorial in the original size so you can easily read what is chiseled in the stone, words that in some cases will break your hearts and if you were there or lost someone there will bring tears to your eyes.
We rode from the Vietnam memorial to the war museum that was about a half mile away. The museum held may exhibits from past wars.
There were many bronze panels, listing the units and members of those units who had died in the wars Australia has fought.
This panel lists the Armored units in Vietnam and those killed.
We went inside the museum to look for the Vietnam section of the display. Here we found a display with an M113, Armored Personal Carrier, the same type of tracked vehicle I spent much of my time in Vietnam in command of.
The inside of the APC, sorry for the gloomy photos the display was not lit very well and I am a poor photographer.
Thank you Jock for taking me to the memorial and the museum, it meant a lot to me to pay my respects to my Australian Bothers in Arms.
We were running late, we were supposed to meet a local Ural rider who would lead us to the Russian Embassy where we would be greeted by the Russian staff who worked there, they were very interested in visiting with us and I was looking forward to seeing how we would be received by them. Before going to the embassy Bob met us and we had a snack, hot coffee and another of those great hot meat pies. Bob is in the center of this photo.
I had a steak-bacon and mushroom, pie.
When we arrived at the embassy, they would only allow two of us in, security I suppose, so Bob and I rode our Ural's into the embassy grounds,
Whilst Jock was left looking through the gate.
Once the ice was broken, we all had a lot of fun talking through the interpretor to the staff and their families. Many of the older folks were very happy to see the Ural's as many had ridden in them when they were childern and the Ural was the family car, pickup truck, school bus and farm to market vehicle. Many wanted a ride so Bob and I spent the better part of an hour giving everyone a ride around the main building of the embassy, the kids especially loved this.
I talked to the interpretor and asked if Jock could also be allowed inside the embassy, I guess after looking at the three of us, all old geezers it was deemed that we were not a threat and so Jock was also let inside the fence.
This little girl really loved the Ural's, she jumped up and down laughing and just wanted to ride all day.
The Russian's presented me with a bottle of very special wine, on the label was a photo of Uri Gargarian (sp), the first man into space. I have yet to open this wine, I am saving it for a special occasion.
Mark, I gave to the Russian interpretor the flask you gave to me, I hope this is OK I didn't have anything with me that would have made a proper gift but he was very pleased with this flask.
We were having a lot of fun at the embassy, I enjoyed meeting the Russian's and kids were great; however we had a lot of miles to cover as we would be spending the night with Inmate "Dirty Dennis" and we had to "find" his home out in the country. So we said our goodbyes to the staff at the embassy, Bob rode with us for a while as we headed out of Canberra toward Dennis's home. Canberra would be the southern most pint of my sojourn, from here we would head northwest.
Finding Dennis's home was in one way a lot of fun in that we traveled just about every road in the area and at the same time frustrating as it was getting dark and COLD. Jock finally got Dennis on his cell phone and we met at a cross roads where we had taken a wrong turn. When we arrived there was a fire going in the wood stove, cold beer and warm conversation after we had put the bikes away in the garage. Later we had a great meal and swapped lies well into the evening. Here are Dennis's wife, Dennis, a long time friend of the family and Jock. Sorry I have forgotten names.
Dennis takes our dinner photo.
YES, I got another dog fix whilst at Dennis's home.
And so day six came to a close; it had been a day of sad reflection and heart felt laughter, a great day to be alive and amongst new friends in a far off land, a day to be remembered and cherished. Stay tuned.