The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2591 will be honoring those who served in the Vietnam War on Saturday, 41 years to the day after the last American ground troops left Vietnam.
The ceremony has three main parts. First is the POW/MIA ceremony, presented by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, followed by the individual recognition of Vietnam veterans for their service. There will then be a remembrance for the 12 Sedalia area men who were killed in action during the conflict. There will also be the opportunity for anyone in attendance to remember someone they lost either during the war or a Vietnam veteran who has since died.
The ceremony is to honor Vietnam veterans, but the public is invited to attend. Gill said that many Vietnam veterans don’t typically participate in these types of ceremonies, but that “we want them to do it, to come out and be recognized for their honorable service.” For Gill, the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War hits close to home.
The VFW hosts recognition ceremonies throughout the year for veterans of different wars. World War II veterans will be recognized on VE Day, May 8; Korean War veterans on July 27; Desert Storm, war on terrorism, Panama, Grenada, Kosovo and Bosnia veterans during a Patriot’s Day celebration Sept. 7; and WWII veterans will again be recognized on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7.
“We’ve done it for the past several years. We feel like it’s been very worthwhile in doing it,” Gill said. “And we had eight or nine World War II veterans last time. We had cake and punch and they said the only reason they came was to see who’s still alive. There’s that dark humor. We’ve lost one since then. One of the Korea veterans said ‘we’ve been home a long time and this is the first time someone has thanked me for my service.’ That meant a lot. We all get busy with our lives, raising children and jobs, but it never goes very far away.”
Following the Vietnam program there will be a $5 all-you-can-eat ham and beans dinner provided by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. All proceeds will benefit the Post.
The program begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at the VFW, 121 S. Ohio Ave. For more information call the Post at 826-4543.