LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall announced on Wednesday that he is sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, June 23 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.
Kowall, R-White Lake, and the Holly Area Veterans Resource Center are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Holly to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying 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 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 23 at Great Lakes National Cemetery, 4200 Belford Road, Holly.
The senator 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.”
Retired Maj. Gen. James Jackson, director of the Department of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers include Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Robert Redford and former Vietnam era Petty Officer 3rd Class Hospital Corpsman Ina Golden.
The master of ceremonies will be veteran advocate and retired U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard Col. Frank J. Walker. Singer-songwriter Mike Beauchamp will perform a patriotic selection of songs, including the national anthem and God Bless America.
For questions or to RSVP, contact Joe Mishler, U.S. Army and Vietnam veteran and Holly Area Veterans Resource Center director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-348-9960.
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 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.