There was an outpouring of pride, praise and gratitude for Vietnam War veterans at the launch of Gunnedah's new memorial murals on Anzac Day.
In less than three weeks, award-winning silo artist Jenny McCracken captured the vision of the Gunnedah and District Historical Society and put it on show for the rest of the world to see.
Gunnedah Water Tower Museum is now an icon on Anzac Hill, showcasing the courage and sacrifice of Australian service personnel in two painstakingly detailed murals on its cream exterior.
The mural on the southern side depicts 'Huey' helicopters and a group of soldiers, and the mural on the northern side depicts soldiers gazing on the Long Tan Cross.
Large crowds turned out to hear the story of the project funded under the Drought Communities Program and witness a special moment in the Barwick family as they donated medals of the late Phil Barwick to the museum for its military display.
Fellow veteran Peter Capp - illustrated kneeling in the mural on the southern side - was a member of the 7th Battalion in The Royal Australian Regiment and said he was "proud to see that era of our history up there".
Mr Capp said those who fought at Vietnam "could identify what about Australia was worth protecting" and "stood out from the naysayers".
Former deputy prime minister John Anderson said the murals told a "very powerful story" of the past, which should serve as "direction" for the future.
Mr Anderson said service personnel who had fought in conflicts over Australia's history were "all worthy" of recognition and thanks, and "it's taken us too long to recognise that".
"You knew what you believed in and you knew what you were defending," he addressed the veterans in the crowd.
"I think we can say collectively, we're sorry our nation has taken so long to pay you the credit you're due."
Artist Jenny McCracken said by making the historical society's vision a reality, she had "left a lasting monument" to veterans and the commemorative murals would "stand here in their honour".
"It's their monument, and a testament to their suffering and sacrifice and their efforts in protecting and standing for what it means to be Australian," she said.