LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Kowall on Thursday reminded interested parties that he and the Michigan Veterans’ Memorial Park Commission, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency 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.
The event will:
• Announce that March 29 of each year is formally Vietnam Veterans Day in the state of Michigan, through a resolution passed by the Michigan Legislature in 2017;
• Recognize and honor two families who lost their soldiers in the Vietnam War. Marty Eddy, who is Michigan state coordinator, National League of POW/MIA Families and secretary/treasurer, POW Committee of Michigan, will formally present a certificate of honor and lapel pin to the families of U.S. Army Spc. Four Arthur Wright, missing in action since Oct. 31, 1977, and U.S. Army Pfc. Nathan Ray Sales, killed in action on Sept. 22, 1968;
• Formally provide a commemorative lapel pin to any Michigan Vietnam era veteran who has not yet received a pin and accompanying items;
• Provide the first 300 veterans attending the event with a green light bulb indicating their military service; and
• Commemorate the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Timeline Replacement Project in the Michigan Veterans Memorial Park.
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.
The Hooligans Flight Team will perform a flyover to formally begin the ceremony. Singer/songwriter Kelly Trudell will lead attendees in the national anthem and a “God Bless America” singalong, and she will perform her hit song “Sound of Hope,” written specifically for Vietnam era veterans. Trudell travels throughout the U.S. singing for veterans. She previously was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her work with veterans, soldiers and their families.
Others at the event will include:
• Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Robert Redford;
• State Chaplain of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Michigan Jennifer Smith, who will deliver the invocation;
• Veteran Service Officer and Chaplain Lawrence Girard, South Haven, Post 49 American Legion, who will give the benediction;
• Guest speaker state Sen. Vincent Gregory, corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam veteran, 1968-70; and
• Past and present Veterans’ Memorial Park commissioners.
RSVP to Lynn O’Brien, Sen. Kowall’s director of district and veteran affairs, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or for any questions at 517-373-0563.
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.
Kowall encouraged residents to consider helping fund the Veterans’ Memorial Park by purchasing a Veterans’ Memorial “Lest We Forget” license plate when they renew. The revenue from this plate is the sole source of income for Michigan Veterans’ Memorial Park. The funds help maintain the park to honor and remember those who serve and have served our nation.
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.