Kowall announces Oxford event honoring Vietnam era veterans

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Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Tuesday announced that he is sponsoring a Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 27 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, is hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Oxford to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. He encourages all interested residents and veterans to join him to pay tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration (VWC), will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Christ the King Church, 1550 W. Drahner Road, in Oxford. The Christ the King Veterans Ministry and Vietnam Veterans of America Post 133 are also helping sponsor the event.

The formal lapel pinning ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. The senator will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” he said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

Kowall said approximately 150 veterans from various Detroit-area shelters will be transported to the event. The event also will include:
•    Michigan Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall compliments of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154;
•    Free hog roast and family picnic to honor all veterans and their families;
•    DJ and live band; and
•    Raffle prizes.

Kowall said the event will occur rain or shine and no RSVP is required. Anyone who is interested in more information can contact Christ the King Veterans Ministry Leader Bob ten Bosch at (248) 417-2451.

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense and launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events that thank and honor the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This lapel-pinning ceremony is a way to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Kowall has held numerous lapel-pinning ceremonies, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

The senator said he particularly enjoys when veterans gather for a group photo and personally announce their name, branch of service and dates served.