LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Ken Horn on Friday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Monday, April 24 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.
Kowall, R-White Lake, and Horn, R-Frankenmuth, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Linden in conjunction with American Legion Family Post 119, Post Commander Jesus Lozano, and Linden Community Schools.
The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.
Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 24, at Linden High School, 7201 Silver Lake Road, in Linden. RSVP to Jesus Lozano, Linden Michigan Vietnam Veterans Pinning, at 810-354-8130 or via email at LMVVP@aol.com.
Kowall and Horn will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.
U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Terry L. Groves will emcee the event and the guest speaker will be U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Joe Caballero. The invocation will be given by Chaplain Richard Laing, American Legion Family Post 119; Veterans of Foreign Wars 3243 Fenton Color Guard will post the colors; and Marianna Ziegler-Hickey will perform the national anthem.
Other highlights include:
• Static military vehicle display by Dan Brewer on the front lawn of Linden High School;
• Special Guest Alida Rose Smith — Miss Poppy American Legion Auxiliary 119 Linden — will lead the Pledge of Allegiance;
• American Legion Auxiliary 119 Linden will serve light refreshments; and
• The “Old Timers Band” will perform a variety of patriotic and 60s era songs throughout the ceremony.
“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” he said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”
The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.
“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”
“I had the honor of participating in Senator Kowall’s pinning ceremony at the state Capitol last year,” Horn said. “I look forward to once again placing a pin on each of these American heroes as a symbol of the long-overdue thanks they most certainly deserve for the sacrifices they gave our country.”
Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.
“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.
Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.