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May/June 2024 -   -  


Hundreds of VVA chapters across the nation commemorated National Vietnam War Veterans Day on and around March 29 with events at cemeteries, memorials, chapter headquarters, parks, city streets, and elsewhere. Here’s a sample from Hawaii to New York City and places in between.

New York City’s Angel Almedina Memorial Chapter 126, working with the city’s Department of Veterans’ Services, put on a series of Vietnam War Veterans Day events in Manhattan, beginning with a ceremonial reading of the names of the more than 1,700 New Yorkers who perished in the Vietnam War at the NYC Vietnam Veterans Plaza and a one-mile march down the Canyon of Heroes along Broadway in Lower Manhattan.

Members of Montgomery, Alabama, Chapter 607 dedicated a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross at Greenwood Cemetery on March 29. Sussex County, Delaware Chapter 1105 organized a reading of the names of the local servicemembers whose names are inscribed on the Sussex County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in in Georgetown, Del. The Memorial was built by Millsboro, Delaware, Chapter 546, and dedicated in November 2004.

Oahu, Hawaii, Chapter 858 commemorated the day with a ceremony at the famed Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, with support from the U.S. Pacific Fleet. After remarks by Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Sam Papara, chapter members and others took part in a ceremonial parade from Fort DeRussy Beach Park to Kapiolani Park.

Courtesy John Mersinger
John Mersinger, Candace Pflipsen, Kiersten Johnson, Kelsey Pierson, Bob Behrens, Tracy Arduser, Anne Berg, and Richard Ammend displayed a $3,000 donation check on Nov. 8, 2023, at CentraCare Plaza in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Since 2016, the International Squadron of Happy Hookers from Central Minnesota Chapter 290 has contributed more $14,000 to CentraCare’s pediatric rehabilitation unit.

Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville, Kentucky, commemorated the day at the Tri-Ân Monument at Veterans Memorial Park in Jeffersontown. The monument honors American and South Vietnamese troops who served in the war. VVA National President Jack McManus was on hand for the commemoration.

Detroit Chapter 9 and Jackson, Michigan, Chapter 109 held pinning ceremonies for Vietnam War veterans on March 28 and 29, in conjunction with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, at their chapter headquarters. York, Pennsylvania, Chapter 1032 hosted a Welcome Home program March 29 at the York Fairgrounds that honored all area veterans from all wars.

Darci McConnell/VVA Chapter 9
Detroit Chapter 9 contributed an additional $250,000 to its scholarship fund, bringing its total donations to $1 million. Managed by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the fund supports higher education for descendants of Vietnam War veterans. Chapter President Paul Palazzolo, left, and leaders of the Foundation posed with the check. Since its inception in 2019, the scholarship program has awarded 16 scholarships.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chapter 203 held a Vietnam Veterans Appreciation Day event March 19 in the Walmart parking lot in Hixson, Tenn., that included a free fish fry for Vietnam War veterans and their spouses. After lobbying by the California State Council, the City of Westminster, Calif., hosted a Vietnam War Veterans Day event at the city’s Vietnam War Veterans Memorial at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park.

Cheatham County, Tennessee. Chapter 1129 held its Vietnam War Veterans Day ceremony at the National Guard Armory in Ashland City. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Chapter 959 co-hosted ceremonies at the local DAV chapter’s headquarters. The event included lunch and a display of Vietnam War veterans’ medals, photo albums, and other military memorabilia. Members of Greenville, South Carolina, Chapter 523 gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the city’s Cleveland Park on March 29. Frederick, Maryland, Chapter 304 held its Vietnam War Veterans Day program in the city’s Memorial Park, which commemorates those who served in every American war from the French and Indian War to the Gulf War.

Col. Jack Van Loan Columbia, South Carolina, Chapter 303 marked the day with a wreath laying and remembrance program at the city’s Memorial Park’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is inscribed with the names of the South Carolinians killed and Missing in Action in the Vietnam War. The North Carolina Sate Council held Welcome Home ceremonies March 29 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Monument at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville. The monument was dedicated in 2018 by Asheville, N.C., Chapter 124.

Butte County, California, Chapter 582 co-hosted a Vietnam War Veterans Day lunch at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Orland, Calif. Cincinnati Chapter 10 held a luncheon March 29 in its chapter headquarters on Reading Road. Berks County, Pennsylvania, Chapter 131 hosted a ceremony on March 29 led by chapter President Bernie Bingham at the Berks County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Reading’s City Park, which the chapter dedicated in 1988. Valencia, California, Chapter 355 held its Vietnam War Veterans Day commemoration at Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.

Leavenworth, Kansas, Chapter 75 organized a reading of the names of the Kansas servicemembers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War on March 29 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Garfield City Park in Topeka. Burley, Idaho, Chapter 1144 held a Vietnam Veterans Recognition Dinner on March 29 at the Minidoka County Senior Center in Rupert. Vern Peterson and Paul Sherman of the Idaho State Council were among the attendees. Chicago Chapter 242 held its Vietnam War Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremonies in Downtown Chicago at the city’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is inscribed with the names of the 2,936 servicemembers from Illinois who did not come home from the war.

Kathy Chapman-O'Brien/VVA Chapter 242
Chapter 242 members gather together on Vietnam Veterans Day March 29th at the Chicago Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Ron Wroblewski, the president of Huntington, West Virginia, Tri-State Chapter 949, gave the Keynote speech on March 29 at the National Guard Armory in Petersburg, W.Va., at the unveiling of the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Memorial. New Bern, North Carolina, Chapter 886 held its third annual Vietnam War Veterans Day commemoration at the city’s Union Point Park. Among other things, archivists from the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project were on hand to record Vietnam War veterans’ oral histories. Perry County, Tennessee, Chapter 1123’s chaplain, Phil Corbin, was the main speaker at the chapter’s March 29 Vietnam War Veterans Day commemoration at the Perry County Courthouse.


Philadelphia Liberty Bell Chapter 266 Vice President Len Johnson was recently appointed to the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ State Veterans Commission by Gov. Josh Shapiro. Among many other veterans’ advocacy activities, Johnson volunteers at Philadelphia’s Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center. In other chapter news, a local DAR chapter presented Vietnam War veteran pins to every chapter member at the March membership meeting. The chapter recently has helped underwrite the VAMC’s food pantry program, as well as a breakfast cereal for enlisted troops’ children program at nearby Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst. Friends of the chapter have knitted lap blankets for the residents of the Delaware Valley Veterans’ Home.

Portland, Oregon, Chapter 392 recently made large donations to two organizations the chapter has worked closely with. The $100,000 gifts—made possible after the chapter was the beneficiary of a will in 2023—went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund project, which is raising money to build a memorial on the Oregon State Capitol grounds in Salem, and to Fort Kennedy, a nonprofit homeless veterans-support organization that the chapter shares office space with. A groundbreaking ceremony for the $5.5-million memorial fittingly took place on National Vietnam Veterans Day, March 29.

Courtesy Steve Carr
Portland, Oregon, Chapter 392 President Steve Carr, right, presented a $100,000 contribution check to Fort Kennedy, a nonprofit that supports homeless veterans with essential services. The chapter also donated $100,000 to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund project to help with the construction of a new Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, which broke ground on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29. The donations were made possible by a bequest to the chapter.




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