Saturday, July 11, 2015

50th Vietnam Veteran Commemeration

Today we had the honor and pleasure of attending the 50th Anniversary Commemoration Event on the Connecticut National Guard grounds in Windsor Locks, CT. After we got off the shuttle bus and went through the security gates, we were warmly welcomed by all who I assume, volunteered their time to make this a very special thank you to the Vietnam Vets of New England. The event was made possible by Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project.

I got teary eyed at the welcome booth when George was presented with the following special pin and a sincere welcome home and thanks. This alone was worth the day.

This is the back of the pin.
We attended the opening ceremony with short speeches by Governor Malloy; a veteran who was a POW for six years; another general and an author on the Vietnam conflict who is also a medal of honor recipient. All speeches were sincere and heartfelt.

The following are pictures of the ceremony.

Governor Malloy

You can't see George but he went up to welcome home and thank the POW veteran (on the left with his hand out).
After the ceremonies, we went to the various booths offering info about services for veterans, souvenirs for sale and a couple of book authors.

George bought a book from this author, James F. Jordan. It is entitled, "Over and Out", his retelling of his thirteen months as a Marine in Vietnam in a battalion that the North Vietnamese referred to as the Ghost Battalion.


As George was buying the book, Mr. Jordan handed me two of these, which are much smaller than they appear in the picture. Being patriotic people, this touched us. I am honored to carry a small piece of our American flag with me.

From there we went to the aircraft display. It was an awesome collection of historic aircraft.

Of all the aircraft, this one below was the most special. It gave George the opportunity to sit in a plane just like the one he rode on from Pleiku to Cameron Bay Air Force base on his way home. It's a C-130. He said he sat in the back and the tail was open on the flight. He never thought he'd sit in one again and he sat where he was sitting on that plane so I could take a picture.

 After that we visited one of the food vendors and after lunch, we saw the remaining exhibits.

142nd ASMC

Pleiku, where George was stationed.

This shirt serves as a reminder of a time in history when people were far from politically correct with the way they treated our veterans. As I heard the speeches today, I realized that nothing will ever be enough to make up for how they were treated by their own country not to mention the Agent Orange and conditions of war. It is a bitter part of our American heritage that we should be embarrassed by. May we never be so cruel to our veterans again.


We also learned that they are planning on making a wall for just Connecticut veterans with pictures of the fallen soldiers. The booth had a book of the names and were looking for people who could provide pictures of the men or women who lost their lives in Vietnam. George lost a friend and is going to try and see if he has a picture. If you know of someone, please see to help them with this project. There were many pictures missing.

George was also given the form for DMV to have a flag designating that he is a veteran put on his license.

We have been to other welcome home ceremonies and veteran activities, but I feel this one was the best that I have ever seen. It was informative, heart felt and well organized--a job well done by all.

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