WITH his ‘bible’ close by and canine ‘Ginge’ riding shotgun, Rob Eade will travel 45,000 kilometres around Australia laying flags at war memorials for fallen veterans.
The 71-year-old arrived in Inverell yesterday, having already completed 16,000 kilometres, to lay an Australian flag at the RSL window for Peter John Arnold and Alexander Henry Fotheringham.
Arnold was born on May 4, 1945 and was killed on February 17, 1967.
Fotheringham was born in Scotland but was listed as an Inverell resident. Eade believes he was either called up or was living there at the time of his enlistment.
He was born on August 11, 1957 and was killed on December 12, 1965.
“Unfortunately I can’t visit all of their birth towns otherwise I’d be overseas for a few years,” he said.
A retired Vietnam veteran himself, Mr Eade’s mission began with a pub conversation in 2015 with a couple of his mates who were admiring a Can-Am Spyder.
“We were all having a laugh and I told them I’d travel around Australia on one of those one day, and look at me now,” he laughed.
An American sprinter inspired the idea to lay flags at war memorials in each fallen soldier’s birth town.
On June 18, 2016, he officially hit the road.
“There are 521 Vietnam veterans, which took me two-odd months to research and pop in my little book - I call it my bible - and divide them into states,” he said. Mr Eade then decided to honour fallen veterans from Vietnam right up to the current day.
“I’m commemorating the lives of service people who gave their all to our country, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”
With a set plan to travel Australia in three years, Mr Eade believed he was on track to completing his task in good time.
He said he found after war people often forgot about those who lost their lives, and focused more on the politics surrounding the event.
“It means so much to me that I am commemorating the boys and girls of war, and I don’t think there is enough of it in Australia.”
He hoped more would follow suit to recognise the people who lost their lives, not just the event.
On Good Friday, Mr Eade was in Wee Waa to lay a flag for Afghanistan veteran Nathan John Abrey Gallagher.
“The young fella I laid up, it was his birthday. His Mum and Dad were there, which really made me emotional to think how hard it would be for the families of these boys and girls.”
To keep up to date with Rob and his journey search ‘Remembrance Ride OZ’ on Facebook.