SAMVOINT Facebook post by Ben Opperman (5th December 2021)
That’s it fellow veterans, friends, family and countrymen…..Perth’s final two-comma-4 for the year that will soon be over 2021 done and dusted. It was a three in one event being our sixth anniversary, our year end ‘event’ and of course the usual first Saturday of the month get-together.
The sun shone brightly as the veterans drifted in one after the other, some accompanied by their legally wedded spouses and all in high spirit. It was the perfect morning for our 72nd event and a fitting end to another extraordinary year that was plagued by The Virus and everything that went with it.
The fly season is in full swing at the moment and the pesky little things made a pest of themselves all round, from the start to finish! One or two flies may have been swallowed in the process….
Good to have had fellow tanker Veteran Theo van Niekerk and Louise join us all the way from Katanning….and Maree de Villiers.
It is also a good time to reflect on the year 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 next year we’ll try something else as well in order to get the other veterans outside Perth to join in one way or another.
To all the veterans out there, wherever you may be, we from Perth wish you all a blessed and merry Christmas. Stay safe, look after yourselves and let us above all not forget what Christmas is all about. If you are travelling, travel safe. Next year we do it all over again!
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.) Not forgetting the forces banter, laughter, jokes and other discussions going on. It is good to catch up with everyone. Of course, being December, a few sported something to resemble Christmas.
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 to 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 is something we will work on next year. We have much to tell and much to offer.
The last group photo for the year from left to right…..Dave Stevenson, Vintcent Redpath, Johan Burr-Dixon, Joe Bryant*, Marion Hercock*, Maree de Villiers, Dean van Vuuren, Louise van Niekerk (back), Dalene Coetzee, Jess van der Nest, Craig Basson, Ben Opperman, Braam Coetzee, Bill Mullany, Andries Pretorius, Slade Healy, Ian Higley, mm…unknown*, Garth Pienaar, Don Pengelly, Craig Howard and Theo van Niekerk. Sitting are Philip Niman, Stella Opperman and Vic van Loggerenberg. Inset Veteran Ron Lee and wife Gwen who went AWOL.