Weekend in Meeka

I got a phone call yesterday from a friend who is on our weekly prayer list asking if I’d consider a slightly odd request. I laughed.

“Of course!” (I’m always up for an adventure)

“Do you know where Meekatharra is?” he asked.


“8 hours north east from Perth in the absolute middle of nowhere?” (Obviously not convinced that I did!)


“Well… I got a call yesterday from some Vietnam Vets who do an annual remembrance service for the battle at Long Tan. They were asking if I could go up and do the dawn service on the Saturday morning for them, but I can’t do it. They asked if I knew anyone who was spiritual, but not too religious who could come and take the service. I thought of you. They’d fly you up and back and put you up at a motel. There’s no money in it, and you’d have to fly in Friday and couldn’t go home until Monday because there are no flights out… What do you think?”


“Long who? I’m afraid my knowledge of the whole Vietnam deal is rather dodgy.” It wasn’t the world’s most attractive offer and my diary already showed a weekend commitment, so I wasn’t feeling overly inspired.

I told him I’d think it over and then googled Long Tan… but was not much wiser. I also contemplated the whole war issue and then filed it in the too hard basket.

However I woke up this morning feeling I should do it – that if nothing else it’d be a wild adventure to go to an outback town and spend the whole weekend with some Vietnam Vets, listen to some of their stories, see a very different side of life and maybe even do some good and bring some hope to the blokes.

So I rang and said ‘yes’.

I have no idea exactly what I’ve got myself into… but isn’t that half the fun sometimes! I think my mate knew I am a sucker for a blokey kind of adventure…

7 thoughts on “Weekend in Meeka

  1. Mate – Long Tan is one of the great Australian battles. If it wasn’t for the whole Vietnam stigma it would be up there in our top 5, I reckon, not far after Gallipoli, Kokoda, Tobrook… Overwhelming odds, courage under fire. Amazing stuff.

  2. Hamo – you can borrow my book on Long Tan if you want a quick refresh.

    It was a significant battle and one of my father’s friends died there. The battle has resulted in some interesting links being developed between veterans from both Australia and Vietnam.

  3. Yeah, agree with Alex and Grendel. It was a significant battle for the Aussies.

    The Vietnamese soldiers had a lot more respect for the Aussies than the Yanks because of the way they fought.

    I just read “Smoky Joes Cafe” by Bryce Courtenay, about a Vietnam vet and his mates trying to survive post-Vietnam. I’ll bring it on Monday, a good, quick read and might help give some idea of what they faced and the pressures they’re dealing with since the war.

  4. Absolutely. Here is an amazing opportunity to get involved with those who were part of the ‘rebel war’. Interestingly, Dad has only just started getting involved in different V’nam buddy meetings around Aus etc, and is learning to appreciate what he has. There are a lot of guys who went there and have really struggled with the rest of their lives in terms of meaning, purpose, mental health etc.

    Have a heap of fun. Oh – and don’t ask for any drink that might come with an umbrella… 🙂

  5. Long Tan – makes, We Were Solders Once And Young, look like a Sunday afternoon out – from my limited reading of Australians at war this battle scares the @@@@!!! out of me just thinking about it – we talk about spiritual warfare, these guys know what modern warfare is all about and are to be respected. The men who fought the battle of Long Tan – Hamo these men deserve you to be there and I feel with your words they could have no finer memorial.

    Away from all the glamour and glitz, the travelling salesman is not required – in an old dusty town town called Meekatharra my prayers will be with you

  6. Pingback: Backyard Missionary » Blog Archive » Flying Blind - Weekend in Meeka

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