Remembering those lost and those who came home

Local Vietnam veteran Stephen Karsai Photo: Lisa Haymes

Local army veteran, Stephen Karsai, will be lighting up the dawn this Sunday in dedication to his friends lost in service in the Vietnam War.

In 1971, Karsai joined the C Squadron 1 Armoured Regiment and dedicated years of service to the cause.

Now based in Woy Woy, the veteran said it was imperative we keep the ANZAC spirit alive.

“ANZAC Day for me is a reflection of lost friends whilst I was serving, but it’s also for peace,” Karsai said.

“It’s important we pass this on to the younger generations, so they never forget the sacrifices the people who went before them made, and what they have now.

“Last year due to COVID-19, we did the dawn service with the candlelight on our doorstep to recognise those friends who never came home, and those who came home, but were never the same.”

Karsai said he will be attending the dawn service at Ettalong Diggers on Sunday, before going to a dinner and show with friends.

“When I stand there at the services, it just brings back memories of all the hard times, but also good times too … I made some lifelong friends who now live all over Australia,” Karsai said.

“We’ll be there proudly wearing our medals.”

With his involvement as a volunteer for the Vietnam Veterans cause, Karsai said he has experienced mixed feelings about the recent announcement of a Royal Commission into veteran and serving Defence personnel suicides.

“I’m happy that the Commission has been convened however I will wait until the terms of reference have been outlined,” he added.

“They have to be wide and the way the Department of Veterans Affairs take care of veterans must be examined.”

Karsai’s will also be one face out of many on show at a special exhibition at The Art House in Wyong.

The exhibition titled, 2020: When Our Veterans Stood Silently Alone in Remembrance, will be open until Friday, May 7, excluding Sundays.

Maisy Rae