IN GRIEF they will gather, in the garden of memorial, to pay tribute to those they cared for so dearly, to mark Remembrance Day 2021.
Sub-branch president of the Vietnam Veteran's Association of Bendigo, Paul Penno, said universal feelings of loss, sadness and pride united people and drew them to the annual service.
He will speak at this year's event in at the Havilah Road Memorial Garden at the Bendigo RSL Club.
He will reflect on the history of Remembrance Day and his own family history.
"It's a story of war and loss which will be very similar to many people attending the service,'' he said.
"The people who will attend will be there because they are experiencing sadness and grief."
Elder generations of Mr Penno's family had served in World Wars and carried the mental scars that came with it.
His great-uncle served in World War I and his father in World War II.
"When my turn came to war and I was conscripted and sent to Vietnam,'' he said.
"He (my father) made it clear he was vehemently opposed to war and insisted that I refuse to go.
"The fact that I served in Vietnam I believe created a division between us that was never talked about or resolved.
"On reflection I have no doubt that his objection to my participation in war was largely affected by the loss of his uncle Phil Allen and his relationship with his surviving uncle Hughie Allen was a significant factor driving him to challenge my decision to serve in Vietnam."
Mr Penno said his story was an example of trans generational war trauma which many who would gather today would have either experienced or observed.
"Many of us have stories full of grief, pain and sadness underpinned by pride."
Mr Penno, of Eaglehawk, received a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours List this year for his significant service to veterans and to the local community.
He has worked for over 30 years as a community based psychiatric nurse where he played an important role in advocating and supporting veterans with mental illness.
"It was a real challenge," he said.
"I was representing a group that was so badly stigmatised, I spent a lot of time developing the community mental health program for the region."
He was responsible for establishing mental health clinics in Swan Hill and Echuca, Marybourgh and Kyneton.
He said he was particularly concerned with the way veterans of the Afghanistan conflict have recently been treated by bureaucrats.
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