Seeds of love sown in war
IT was 40 years ago while serving in the Vietnam War that Alan and Jan Pike first laid eyes on each other.
Alan was a liaison officer and the only Australian in a section of the American army.
His group was based at Long Binh and, when he heard there were Australian troops 10 kilometres away, he “managed to find them” quickly.
Jan was among the nearby group at Bien Hoa and was practising as a theatre sister at the civic hospital when the pair met in 1971.
“I would go there about once a week as a social outlet and meet (other Aussies),” Mr Pike said.
“I met Jan there and we got married in 1976, five years after we met.”
Both are also descendents of service people from World War I and agree it is important to keep the ANZAC spirit alive.
“It helps the current generations understand that there have been difficult times and many have sacrificed themselves for our country to be where it is now,” Mr Pike said.
Jim Peterson – whose aunt Florence Peterson served in World War II – agreed it was a time to reflect on those who served for our freedom.
His Killarney-born aunt was an army sister and left the army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, which was the second highest award a woman could achieve.
She also received the British Empire Medal for her work in England during the war years.
“She devoted her life to nursing. She didn’t get married until after she retired,” her proud nephew said.
“She didn’t talk much about army life.
“After the war she came back as principal matron of the Concord Repatriation Hospital at Sydney. After that she was chief advisor to the Commonwealth Government of Nursing.”
Mrs Peterson’s ashes are at Eden Gardens.