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Australians Start Commemorations of VP Day

Australia's national celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of victory in the Pacific (VP) of World War II began Saturday and are set to continue until Monday, the actual anniversary.


In the capital city Canberra, WWII vehicles parade was held on streets at the city center, military displays were held around Lake Burley Griffin, and aerial displays were shown over the lake.


There will also be aerial displays over the lake Sunday, including an F-111 dump and burn maneuver.


The victory will be observed on Monday in an official service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, but most activities are planned for the weekend.


A ceremony and a march to salute the war veterans were held through the center of Sydney, Australia's biggest city, Saturday morning, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.


Hundreds of people lined Sydney city streets to watch up to 5,000 veterans march.


Australian Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defense Force Michael Jeffrey saluted the veterans as they passed Town Hall in Sydney.


Celebrations in Canberra and Sydney are part of a national celebration in cities, regional towns and local communities to thank those who served for their contribution and sacrifice.


Some 1 million Australians served during WWII, almost 40,000 lost their lives and more than 30,000 were taken prisoners. About 17,000 WWII veterans are still alive.


(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2005)

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