2017-05-04 / News

Local Vietnam Era Veterans To Be Honored May 20 in St. Ignace

Local veterans who served during the Vietnam War era are invited to take part in a special ceremony in St. Ignace to honor their service to the country. The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration is open to any veteran of the U.S. military who served from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975. The commemoration does not distinguish between those who served at home, in Southeast Asia, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period.

It will take place at Little Bear East Arena Saturday, May 20, at 2 p.m. Vietnam veteran Sid DeHaan of Mackinac Island is organizing the local gathering, and said that he already has 127 veterans and their families scheduled to attend. He would like to extend the invitation to all Vietnam veterans who are interested.

Mr. DeHaan is commander of the Mackinac Island American Legion Post 299.

Originally, Mr. DeHaan had planned to host the commemoration on Mackinac Island, but, logistically, St. Ignace proved to be a better location. The event will include a public presentation of thanks on behalf of the nation and individual recognition of each veteran and their family.

President George W. Bush initiated the USA Vietnam War Commemoration in 2008 to recognize the 50th anniversary of the conflict. Based on federal law, the purpose of the commemoration is “to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families on behalf of the nation for their service and sacrifice.” All Vietnam veterans in attendance will receive a specially made lapel pin. The front of the pin features a bald eagle imposed over a U.S. flag with the words “Vietnam War Veteran.” The back of the pin reads, “A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You.”

Mr. DeHaan said this event would allow Vietnam War veterans to receive the “proper welcome home they never received.”

The presentation will include members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5114 in St. Ignace, the American Legion Post 159 in Mackinaw City, the American Legion Post 122 in Wolverine, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 274 in Cheboygan, and the American Legion Post 299 from Mackinac Island. Mr. DeHaan, however, encourages any other veterans organizations from the EUP or northern Lower Michigan to take part in the commemoration, as well.

Veterans and their families interested in being part of the commemoration are asked to contact Mr. DeHaan by phone or text message at (616) 292-7151, or by e-mail at sidela@frontier.com.

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