County's First Annual National Vietnam War Veterans Day Ceremony
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Brownsville DAV Chapter 32 hosted a solemn wreath ceremony today inside the Veterans Hall at the Edmonson County Courthouse in honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
U.S. Senators Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced legislation in 2017 to honor Vietnam Veterans with a day on the anniversary of the withdrawal of military units from South Vietnam, which was March 29, 1973. President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Day Act on March 28, 2017, calling for U.S. flags to be flown on March 29 for those who served.
DAV Auxiliary Commander Maurita Miller read a statement at today's ceremony that was attended by several local veterans and their family members. After DAV Commander Jack Hasty opened the ceremony with prayer, Mrs. Miller gave a brief history of the Vietnam war from a prepared statement.
"Casualties in Vietnam were 58,000 plus killed in action. 153,000 plus wounded. 1,948 listed as missing in action," she read from her statement. "As of April 2017, there are still 1,611 still missing."
She then honored the 12 Edmonson County residents which lost their lives in the Vietnam conflict by sharing their names and the year they passed:
Two local vets, Johnny Russell and Benny Durbin, carried a memorial wreath and an American flag from the south entrance of the hallway and placed them in the center during the ceremony.
Mrs. Miller said while the DAV didn't expect an overwhelming crowd, it was important to recognize Vietnam vets everywhere on this day, especially those from the area.
"We know this ceremony isn't as big as our annual Memorial Day program, but this isn't a day we need to let slip by," she said. "We need to show honor to these brave men and women every year."
DAV Commander Hasty, who served in Vietnam in 1966-67, said much of the same. "We have a lot of Vietnam veterans in Edmonson County and it's important that they're recognized."
Madison's Flowers donated the wreath used in today's ceremony. Several employees from courthouse offices also attended today's event.