Service, display honors Vietnam War veterans
Published 6:01 pm Monday, March 28, 2016
Two organizations have partnered to honor Vietnam veterans and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
The Major Reading Blount Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and members of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 15 have joined together to honor Vietnam veterans through a remembrance service today at 2 p.m. at Veterans Park. Vietnam veterans, their families and community members are invited to join the celebration, according to Betsey Lee Hodges, president of the Auxiliary.
The service will feature words from Hodges and Reid Solomon, regent of the Major Reading Blount Chapter.
According to Solomon, the United States Vietnam War commemoration gives the community the opportunity to recognize and honor the 9 million veterans, 7 million of whom are still living today, and their families for their service and sacrifice in the Vietnam War. More than 90,000 organizations, including all 165 chapters of the North Carolina DAR, have joined with the U.S. Dept. of Defense as partners to honor those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, the span of the entire war.
“This service is important because the Vietnam veterans were kind of left out when they came home,” Solomon said. “They were also shunned and weren’t given the recognition that they deserved. They didn’t ask to go over there; they were sent over there. They were serving our country.”
In accordance with the last day U.S. troops were on the ground in Vietnam, Robert McDonald, secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, has dedicated March 29 as a day to honor those who have “borne the battle,” as Solomon puts it, and to extend gratitude and appreciation to Vietnam veterans and their families, she said.
Monday, Washington Mayor Mac Hodges signed a proclamation at Washington City Council’s meeting, making March 29 a day the community should remember and honor the veterans of Vietnam.
The two organizations have also honored Vietnam veterans through a display at Brown Library. The display includes the names of each of the six soldiers from Beaufort County who were killed in Vietnam, information about them and where their names are located on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“(The Vietnam War) is a war that divided the country. Most of the people involved in the fighting were drafted so they went, but they didn’t necessarily volunteer. People didn’t remember them and there was no thanks or parades when they came home,” Solomon said. “We want to change people’s perceptions. (The veterans) did the job that was asked of them. Many of them would’ve stayed home otherwise, but they were drafted, and they did their job, and they came back home with no appreciation for what they did.”