On Friday, March 29, a ceremony to mark National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be held in Veteran’s Park.
“We’ve never done an event like this, so we’re not sure what the response will be,” said Art Garrison, one of the local Vietnam veterans helping to organize the event. “Depending on turnout, we’d like to do something yearly.”
The ceremony will be presided over by Chairman of the James City County Board of Supervisors Jim Icenhour, himself a Vietnam veteran and retired Air Force pilot. Among other things, 50 Year Vietnam War Commemorative pins will be presented to all Vietnam Veterans in attendance.
According to Garrison, the next few years are of some importance to Vietnam veterans, with the ongoing 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Garrison himself returned home from Vietnam in April 1969, an experience that has stuck with him ever since, and makes ceremonies like this one all the more important.
“Most Vietnam veterans, when we came home, we got at best ambivalence, and at worst hostility, so a lot of us kept quiet, often for decades,” said Garrison. “Getting recognition now means a lot to these guys, it can be reaffirming, and it’s important we honor them and hear their stories while we have the chance.”
The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on March 29, at the Vietnam Memorial Monument located in Veterans Park/Kids Park on Ironbound Road at its juncture with Monticello Avenue. Veterans and members of the public are both invited to attend.
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.