Facebook Post by Veteran Ben Opperman 3.6.23
That’s it fellow veterans, friends, family and countrymen…..Perth’s two-comma-4 for the month of June ‘23 done and dusted.
Day had pushed night over the horizon as 13 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. Two very brave veterans turned up wearing shorts!
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.)
Someone had kindly donated an orange flight suit and Garth had Slade Healy put it on.
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.
Now….a real bummer! First of all, the remote control’s battery went flat since last month. Secondly, handling the camera at some stage during the past month changed some of the settings which also affected the self-timer function. So, a very nice lady offered to press the button but unfortunately she didn’t press it hard enough to actually have the camera take the pictures and so for the first time that I can remember we don’t have a group photo! I also didn’t check to look at the photo’s she (didn’t) took. The only photo is of Slade Healy with the orange flight suit on. I took the photo.
At least the names of those present stuck somewhere in my mind and they were Garth Pienaar, Slade Healy, Andries Pretorius, Marlize Pretorius, Philip Niman, Ian Higley, Zander Opperman, Craig Howard, Johan Schoeman, Peter Celliers, Braam Coetzee, Brian Halstead and Ben Opperman.