The Vietnam Veterans of America Southeast Texas Chapter 292 gathered to observe the first National Vietnam War Veterans Day on Thursday, March 29, 2018.
A crowd of observers attired in patriotic wear along with veterans participated in the first-ever southeast Texas national day.
“It was very well-attended, probably 40, or so people,” Kerwin Stone, Director at Large for the Vietnam Veterans of America and Treasurer of Chapter 292.
The ceremony was held at the newly constructed memorial at the Ben J. Rogers Visitor Center off I-10, adjacent to Ford Park in Beaumont.
“There were active-duty members of the military, veterans, and people from each of the veteran’s service organizations, along with guests,” he said.
Not bad for a hastily organized commemorative, according to Stone, adding he hopes to make it an annual affair.
The bill to make the National Vietnam War Veterans Day “was signed in by President Donald Trump as a flag day in memory and honor of the Vietnam Veterans,” he said.
Forty-plus years ago, Southeast Texas Vietnam vets came home to a grateful community. In contrast to the nation at-large, Stone says the Southeast Texas “was and is a very welcoming community and we really appreciate all the support.”
Yesterday’s forced the observance to be held inside the visitor center with a reception and refreshments provided by HEB, Dowlen Road, in Beaumont.
Historians disagreed when the Vietnam War started, but the first US Armed Forces active duty personnel went into service on Nov. 1, 1955, with an end to active duty service on May 15, 1975.
More than two million Americans served in uniform in Vietnam; more than 58,000 servicemen and servicewomen lost their lives in the conflict; 304,000 were wounded, and untold thousands carried the scars of their service home with them after the war.