Save the Date: Vietnam Veterans Day event coming March 29

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LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Veterans’ Memorial Park Commission, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, and state Sen. Mike Kowall announced Thursday that the group will host an event in Lansing on Thursday, March 29 to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day in the state.

The event will take place beginning at 1 p.m. at Michigan Veterans’ Memorial Park, east of the Hall of Justice, between Allegan and Ottawa streets in Lansing. Overflow parking will be at the Michigan Historical Center parking lot at 702 W. Kalamazoo St., located between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Pine Street.

Master of ceremonies for the event will be retired U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard Col. Frank J. Walker, an Air Force Academy admissions liaison officer and veteran advocate.

Also attending will be Military and Veterans Affairs Director Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais.

“It is a privilege, and it is certainly time, to honor our Michigan Vietnam veterans, their families, and especially those men who gave the ultimate sacrifice to the nation and to their fellow citizens during the Vietnam War,” Vadnais said. “This day recognizes these warriors and their families for their courage, their dedication to freedom, and their commitment to a cause greater than self, and it ties them directly with their fellow warriors, those who have served in previous conflicts and those who are currently serving in the defense of our great nation.”

The event will honor families of Michigan warriors who were lost during the conflict and celebrate the revitalization of the Michigan Vietnam Monument. Kowall co-sponsored Senate Resolution 35 of 2017 to establish March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day in the state.

RSVP to Lynn O’Brien, Sen. Kowall’s director of district and veteran affairs, by email at lobrien@senate.michigan.gov or for any questions at 517-373-0563.

As part of the event, a lapel pinning ceremony will be held to honor U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location, giving long-overdue recognition to the veterans for their service and sacrifice.

“Of the 608,000 veterans living in Michigan today, over 215,000 served during the Vietnam era,” said Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Robert Redford. “This event, and lapel pinning ceremonies that have been held throughout our state, serve as a way for us to formally thank our cherished Vietnam veterans for answering the call to serve our country in uniform.”

Kowall has been a strong advocate for Vietnam era veterans, hosting numerous lapel pinning ceremonies throughout Michigan.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank all those who served in the Vietnam era,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “It is the least our country can do to acknowledge and pay tribute to all of those who served with honor and distinction.”

The Michigan Vietnam Monument, located within Michigan Veterans’ Memorial Park, is a solemn location recognizing Michigan residents, by county, who served in Vietnam. The monument recently underwent a revitalization project.

The Michigan Veterans Memorial Park Commission, under the direction of Chairman James F. Dunn, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient and former deputy director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, will showcase the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Timeline Replacement Project at the event.

The Vietnam War Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally 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 hold events for the veterans and their families.

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

Note: Click here for directions to the Michigan Vietnam Monument.