LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and the Holly Moose Lodge 1168, in conjunction with the Agent Orange Justice Association, on Tuesday announced that a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.
Kowall, R-White Lake, said the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Holly will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. He encourages all interested residents and veterans to join his representative at the event, Director of District and Veteran Affairs Lynn O’Brien, in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.
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. 20 at Holly Moose Lodge 1168, 210 S. Broad St., Holly.
Kowall said to contact Gregory Nealis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-904-3500 with any questions.
O’Brien 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.
Kowall encourages members of all wars/conflicts to attend in support of the Vietnam Veterans receiving a lapel pin. 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.”
U.S. Army and Vietnam veteran Joe Mishler will be the master of ceremonies and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5587 Color Guard will post the colors. The guest speaker will be Lori Weber, member of the Children of Vietnam Veteran Health Alliance.
In addition, Joanna Lauren, daughter of a Vietnam era veteran, will perform the national anthem and lead attendees in a God Bless America singalong; entertainment will be provided by Michibillys Band; and the Holly Moose Lodge will provide a light lunch for attendees.
The 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, such as Kowall, hold events for 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 ceremony is a way to recognize 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 events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.
Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.