LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Thursday asked interested parties to save the date for a Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremony on Saturday, May 21 — Armed Forces Day — in Pontiac in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.
Kowall is encouraging his constituents and all interested Michiganders to attend.
“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,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “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.”
Kowall said the event, made possible by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, at the Lafayette Grande in Pontiac.
In addition to the lapel-pinning ceremony conducted by Kowall, certificates of recognition will be presented by state Rep. Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills. Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, will also attend. The theme of the event will be to pay tribute and recognition for our Vietnam veterans.
The symbolism attached to the Commemoration’s Vietnam veteran lapel pins 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.”
In addition to the lapel pin, Vietnam era veterans will be provided with a poster for their branch of service and “A Grateful Nation Thanks You” bumper sticker.
Kowall has held numerous lapel-pinning ceremonies, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are often held in a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall or American Legion post. Kowall partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.
A special part of the lapel-pinning ceremonies is when the veterans gather for a group photo and indicate their name, branch of service, and dates served.
“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.