SAMVO Facebook post by Ben Opperman (4th June 2022)
That’s it fellow veterans, friends, family and countrymen…..Perth’s two-comma-4 for the month of June ‘22 done and dusted. We missed a few regulars but sometimes duty calls and in veteran Garth Pienaar’s case being confined to a bed with a fractured femur isn’t that pleasant at all. We wish him a speedy recovery knowing that he was with us in spirit.
Day was struggling to push night over the horizon as veterans turned up one after the other for this month’s 2,4km. The air was nippy forcing some of the veterans to don neck warmers and beanies, not forgetting a warm jacket or so. We had Veteran Jacques van Tonder join us after a long absence. He is on holiday at the moment from his work in Mongolia. He regaled all those present with many tales and traditions of his stay and experiences in the land of Genghis Kahn. He also visited the ANZAC memorial at Gallipoli and expressed his sheer admiration of what happened there so many years ago. The scale of the battlefield is much smaller than he originally thought.
It is also a good time to reflect on the six months that is past. Well done on the veterans, friends and family who made the trek to Kings Park each time. We must continue to do so. Maybe the next six months will see more veterans making their way to Kings Park for a trek up Riaan-se-koppie to Tim’s Tower and back.
To all the veterans out there, wherever you may be, do make an effort to do a 2,4km in your own backyard. Take a selfie with you on the go and tell us where you are. Why not take the dog for a walk?
Everyone set off on the dot up Riaan-se-koppie, touched the steel of Tim’s Tower and paused a moment there to reflect before heading down to a scrumptious self-made brekky. Soon the area around the two barbeques were filled with the aroma of bacon and other goodies being cooked (we are the envy of many other visitors to Kings Park who happen to wander past our group.) Veteran Ian Higley of course raised the bar a notch or two with flat bread filled with succulent pulled lamb, beetroot and white sauce! Not forgetting the forces banter, laughter, jokes and other discussions going on. It is good to catch up with everyone.
Why do this at all one might ask? I have said it before and will keep on saying it. We will always remember those who sacrificed so much at the call to duty and those who left us too early. We will never know the true value of this once-a-month-activity but what is set in concrete is that veterans need to take time off to reacquaint with one another and thereby cement existing friendships and forge new friendships. We are in a foreign country that we now call home where things can get a bit rough at times but we share the same story from way back – we were soldiers once - we were and still are brothers in arms. We share the hope and despair of all the veterans back in South-Africa, their families, our families, friends…..the list is long. We will pass, it’s a matter of time and life will go on regardless.
There are many, many more Veterans out here that are not ‘connected’. We are hoping to get to them sooner rather than later but it is an ongoing process. We have much to tell and much to offer.
The group photo…..Alf Naude, Johan Burr-Dixon, Marlize Pretorius, Hendrik Pretorius, Philip Niman, Don Pengelly, Dean van Vuuren, Joe Bryant, Jacques van Tonder, Ben Opperman and Ian Higley.