Madison Doyle, story and photos:
The Edmonson County Disabled American Veterans & Auxiliary (DAV) hosted a ceremony today at the community center in Brownsville for Edmonson County Vietnam War veterans today, March 25, 2023. Five years ago, the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was signed by President Donald Trump designating March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
DAV Commander Mike Stoyovich began the ceremony by thanking the veterans in attendance as well the rest of the crowd. He then welcomed former DAV Commander Jack Hasty to the stage, for the calling of the color guard, and the pledge of allegiance. Retired Sheriff Shane Doyle then sang the National Anthem.
State Representative Michael Lee Meredith was one of three guest speaker's at today's ceremony. He explained to the crowd why there is now a special day recognizing Vietnam War Veterans.
"When you learn about the different wars throughout American history, you often learn about the heroic welcome that all of our soldiers get upon returning home," said Meredith. "The thing is, these guys didn't get that. The media created a narrative about these brave men and women that made things really difficult for those who fought in Vietnam to come back home. Many of them didn't have a place to go, or people who loved them to welcome them back, and sadly many more of them were mistreated. This day is a day to say thank you for fighting for us, and we're sorry that you didn't get the heroic welcome you deserved a long time ago."
Judge Executive Scott Lindsey also spoke today. He talked about how he had a member of his own family who was killed in action in Vietnam, and said he has always held a special place in his heart for the many other brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
"I'm the 53 year-old father of a 22 year old son," said Lindsey. "The average age of these guys who were going to fight this war was about 20 years old. Some even younger than that," Lindsey said, emotionally. "The thought of my kid having to leave our family to go fight a war on the other side of the country makes me sick. I can't say thank you enough to those of you in this room that had to do just that. Thank you, thank you so much."
Former Judge Executive and US Army retiree Wil Cannon was the final guest speaker today.
"I've been a lot of places and I've seen a lot of things, and I can proudly say that Edmonson County is one of the most patriotic places in the United States of America," Cannon said. "As I look around this room I appreciate the people I see, the veterans, the family and friends of those who have fallen, and those who just came out to be with us, but I am sad that this room isn't filled up. There should be so much more people here to support these guys. Most of you don't understand how difficult it was for them when they came home. Many suffered from PTSD, they were physically harmed, spat on, verbally abused, and they didn't deserve it."
Cannon went on to say he was proud to be from a place where people do appreciate our veterans, and he was proud to be in the same room with some of "those brave soldiers."
After this, Stoyonovich called out the names of the soldiers from Edmonson County who died during their time at Vietnam, as Jack Hasty rang a bell for each name called, and Maurita Miller honored the featured Veteran, Darrell Hogan.
For the closing of the ceremony, the VFW 639, plus Judge Executive Scott Lindsey and also Wil Cannon, did a 21 gun salute. "Taps" was also played.
DAV Commander Mike Stoyonovich said in closing, "The DAV salutes all of our veterans, and we salute this fine country."