LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood on Friday announced they are sponsoring a Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 8 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.
Kowall, R-White Lake, and Hopgood, D-Taylor, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Romulus to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them 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, will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Romulus VFW Post 9568, 39270 W. Huron River Drive, in Romulus.
Those interested in attending should RVSP to past Post Commander Ron Allen at RCADDA@SBCGlobal.net.
The lawmakers 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.”
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.”
“Hosting a special recognition ceremony for our Vietnam veterans is something I am extremely honored and proud to be a part of,” Hopgood said. “I hope the community comes to support our service men and women, and I also hope this becomes an annual tradition because it’s the least we can do to thank them for their service to our country.”
During the ceremony, Donna Rekuta will perform the national anthem and God Bless America, and Romulus VFW Post 9568 Honor Guard will present the colors. The Romulus Auxiliary will provide snacks.
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.
Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.