Kowall to honor Native American veterans in Lansing

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Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Wednesday announced that on Saturday, Nov. 5 he will participate in a tribute to Native American veterans and a lapel-pinning ceremony at a Lansing event.

Kowall said the city of Lansing and the Native American Institute at Michigan State University are hosting the Courage Veterans Day Tribute to give recognition to Native American veterans and their families. He encourages all interested residents and veterans to join him to pay tribute to the men and women who have courageously served their nation.

Kowall said the event will be held at on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Pattengill Middle School, 626 Marshall St. in Lansing. A fundraiser breakfast will served from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and the ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium.

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. Retired U.S. Marine Corps officer Robert Weiss will be a ceremonial presenter.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will participate and all Blue Star and Gold Star families and veterans will be recognized.

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.”

Retired U.S. Army officer and Chickasaw Nation Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel will be the keynote speaker for the event. The master of ceremonies will be Ken Houston of WILX News 10 in Lansing.

Kowall said the tribute will include an American Indian Flag Ceremony, traditional drumming, a rifle salute, and the performance of taps and Amazing Grace.

The United States of America Vietnam War 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 tribute 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.”

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.

“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.