Showing posts with label Vietnam memorial traveling wall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vietnam memorial traveling wall. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vietnam veteran confronted memories of 1st Sgt. Charles Sellers at the Wall

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall more than names

The Chronicle-Telegram
Bruce Walton 
July 16, 2019
Gannett spent the last few hours looking over the wall to find several names, including the name of 1st Sgt. Charles Sellers, Gannett’s sergeant, who died in Vietnam. The worst part, he said, was that he died at the hands of his own soldiers. It was through his work at the wall he said, that he even remembered his name Monday.
WELLINGTON — A small but dedicated group assembled for the closing ceremony of the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall on Monday afternoon.

Although attendance was less than for the opening ceremony Thursday, the respect was just as overwhelming.

The Amherst Veterans Military Honor Guard led the presentation of colors, followed by the last reading of the 98 Lorain County Vietnam veterans who died in the war. Brant Smith, Wellington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6941 quartermaster and one of the main organizers of the event, gave the last words before the closing prayer.

“I truly love all of our Vietnam veterans, these men are my heroes, these men are the reason that myself and so many other young men of my generation have served our country because of these men and women that paved the way for us,” he said.
read it here

This is from the Virtual Wall

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Side by side hundreds of bikers escorted the Vietnam Memorial traveling wall into Wickham Park

update..make that 1,000

SPACE COAST DAILY TV: More than 1,000 motorcycles and hundreds of cars escorted the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall from the Eastern Florida State College campus in Cocoa to Wickham Park on Sunday morning. The Friday Night Locker Room’s Steve Wilson and Orville Susong covered the impressive procession live on Space Coast Daily TV.

Wickham Park Wall Escort 2019

Wounded Times and PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 5, 2019

This morning I was at Wickham Park in Melbourne Florida for the Vietnam Memorial Wall Escort. It is the start of the week long reunion for veterans. While it started as a Vietnam veterans reunion, it was changed so that all veterans felt like family!

It is one of my favorite events and I wanted to share it with you, so, no PTSD Patrol video as usual today. Besides, when it comes to empowerment...sometimes it comes on two wheels and side by side~

Sunday, September 24, 2017

LZ Michigan Vietnam Veterans Honored at the Wall

West Michigan veterans celebrated at LZ Michigan event

FOX 17 Michigan
Rebecca Russell
September 24, 2017

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.– A big community event at Fifth Third Ballpark on Saturday honoring West Michigan veterans. It was put on by LZ Michigan, a group whose goal is to remember, honor and celebrate community veterans and their families.

“There are a lot of activities from the Wall That Heals, to kids areas, to the ceremony with the most recent Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan as well as music and lots of presentations for and from community veterans,” said Tim Eernisse, WGVU Director of Development and Marketing. 

It was an emotional day for some checking out the Wall That Heals, a replica of the Vietnam Wall.
“It does bring up emotions,” said Ted Roper, a Vietnam veteran. “It makes you think back to how all these guys could’ve been lost and it makes you sad when you think about it.”
There are more than 2,600 names on the wall from Michigan.
“You see your high school friends on here,” said Bob Woodfor, a Vietnam veteran. “People you associated with during your life, this is where you find them.”
Also in attendance, Marine Corps veteran Jeff DeYoung, whose bomb sniffing dog Cena was laid to rest last month after being diagnosed with bone cancer. DeYoung now uses his custom Jeep as a traveling memorial for Cena, sharing their story to those who come to see it.
“I get to tell them about me and Cena and I have photos of our story and articles and things like that,” said DeYoung. “I don’t want Cena’s passing to be in vain or forgotten, so our lifestyle and work is continuing, but more than most it’s another way for us to reach out.”

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Vietnam Moving Memorial Tribute At Fort Jackson

Moving tribute to Vietnam veterans at Fort Jackson 
Live 5 News WCSC
By Carolyn Callahan
Updated: May 14, 2015

"It's an honor for us to finally welcome home our Vietnam veterans that served our nation and didn't get the welcome home they deserve," Col. Mark Shade, deputy commander at Fort Jackson, said.
Most people take the time to thank veterans for their service, but sometimes, you can't give that gratitude until long after sacrifices have been made. At Fort Jackson, there's a moving way to honor Vietnam veterans.
"Every Vietnam veteran is just as proud as they can be that we're doing this to recognize the Vietnam veterans," Maj. Gen. Retired Steve Siegfried said.

More than 58,000 names are engraved on 'The Moving Wall', a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

"It's a tribute to those battle buddies that we had," Siegfried said.

Siegfried served in Vietnam. He remembers the faces that go with some of the names on 'The Moving Wall.'

"I'll come back at a time when there's not as many people here and visit with them," Siegfried said.

'The Moving Wall' was created in 1984 and makes stops throughout the country. Fort Jackson is its most recent visit. read more here | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Florida Veterans' Reunion Not Rained Out

The 27th Annual Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion was not rained out yesterday. Sure there were a lot less people and vendors but I was surprised by so many others coming out in the rain to visit the Vietnam Wall. The ground was saturated but no one seemed to be willing to let that stop them. There was an elderly woman in a wheelchair being pushed thru the mud and puddles and kids jumping in others.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wyoming veterans help escort traveling memorial

Wyoming veterans help escort traveling memorial
Ravalli Republic
June 29, 2013

LARAMIE, Wyo. – Carl Meloche still remembers his worst homecoming.

“I came back from Vietnam in December of ’68,” the Army Special Forces veteran said. “A bunch of us came in and got on the bus at Oakland. We drove through the gate, and there were a bunch of protesters out there, long-haired hippie people, peace signs and all of that.”

He said protesters, chanting and picketing, circled the bus and blocked its passage.

“The bus driver said, ‘We’re going to have to get the MP to clear the road,’” Meloche said.

The Green Berets on the bus had a better idea.

“We unloaded the bus,” Meloche said. “We walked in front and formed a V in front of the bus. And we moved those people, not physically, but mentally. They decided they didn’t want anything to do with the Green Beret, with the veterans who’d just come back from killing hostile enemies over there.”

Earlier this month, Meloche rode as the point man in the motorcade escorting the American Veterans Travelling Tribute into Cheyenne.

The memorial is a wall bearing the names of tens of thousands of veterans who’ve died fighting in every American war since World War II, and it includes every name of the more than 58,000 service members killed during the Vietnam War.

Meloche and fellow Vietnam veteran, Daniel R. Santistevan – both Laramie residents – said riding in the escort’s vanguard brought back memories of the war, faces of fallen friends and the latent fear, frustration and anguish associated with combat.

And both soldiers agreed: The ride was the greatest honor of their lives.
read more here

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Iowa Vietnam Veteran putting faces to names on Wall

Iowa veteran attempting to put faces to the Vietnam Memorial Wall names
By Dean Reynolds
January 7, 2013
(CBS News)

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Every year, more than 3 million people visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. Many others visit replicas that travel around the country.

All have the names of the more than 58,000 of Americans killed in the war -- but just the names.

That gave one Vietnam vet an idea.

Tom Brickman was an Army specialist in Vietnam who has spent most of the last 44 years trying to forget about it.

"I didn't want to talk about the war," he said. "I didn't want any memories of the war. I just wanted to put it deep in the past."

Last summer, Tom and his daughter Shari Kirkpatrick saw what's known "as the wall that heals" -- a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington.

What he saw moved him, but he wanted to see more than names. He thought photographs would fill an emptiness he felt.

So now with Shari, Tom is on a mission to match a photograph to the 853 names on Iowans who fell in Vietnam.

"It's kind of a healing process... for myself, as well as the people, the families I have talked to. And I have talked to people who have told me about their experiences of what they went through with the death of their brother," he said.
read more here

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vietnam Vet Run draws large crowds

Vietnam Vet Run draws large crowds
August 18, 2012

More than 200 bikers signed up to ride at the Vietnam Vet Run Saturday, but organizers said before the run that they expected even more to show up at the last minute.

“We’ve got riders that just got here that rode 1,200 miles to be here,” Pat Walker, an organizer of the event, said just 10 minutes before kickstands were scheduled to go up. “I’m so impressed and I’m very, very grateful to everybody for coming and being a part of it.”

Walker said the turnout for the run was incredible, and they’re pretty sure they’ll meet their goal and be able to complete the Vietnam Veteran Memorial near downtown Jacksonville this year, but they won’t know for sure until it’s all over Sunday evening.

“A lot of people want us to do it anyway (next year),” Walker said. “Because this is a place where the brothers can get together and just ride.”

Second to the run, the traveling Vietnam War Dog Memorial drew more attention than any of the other booths. With hundreds of kennel signs strewn across the floor to resemble just a fraction of the dogs lost during the war, people couldn’t help but stop and stare.
read more here

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vietnam Memorial Wall Escort in Melbourne

Here is the video from the bikes coming into Wickham Park.

Here are some pictures taken at the Lone Cabbage

I was there filming them as they came into Wickham Park and I can tell you there were a lot more than 1,000 motorcycles. My camera battery ran out before they were all in. Video is processing now so it will be up later tonight. It ran over 16 minutes and still didn't get all the bikes!

Hundreds gather for Vietnam memorial event
5:43 PM, Apr. 22, 2012
Written by
Wayne T. Price

The weather report for Sunday in Brevard County called for a mixture of wind and rain.

Greg Welsh basically said “no big deal.”

Welsh, longtime member of the Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard, met with a few dozen volunteers late Sunday morning in Wickham Park to erect the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall.

Rain or shine, the wall was going up Sunday, Welsh said.

“We were putting it up regardless of the rain,” Welsh said. “We fought and died in the rain, so the rain wasn’t a concern.”

The traveling memorial, which is visiting 18 sites around the United States this year, has turned into a notable tradition in Brevard, as it is part of the the Annual Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion, which kicks off Thursday.

As per tradition, supporters on motorcycles gathered at Brevard Community College's Cocoa Campus Sunday morning and escorted the truck and trailer carrying the wall along U.S. 1 to Wickham Park.

Police estimated between 800 to 1,000 motorcyclists were involved.
read more here

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wind knocked down Vietnam traveling wall, community raised it again

Community rallies to patch up veterans' wall
Storm damages display in Ohio
Written by

Slammed to the ground by a powerful storm, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will need some touch-up work after it returns home to Brevard County later this week.

The community rallied in the small Ohio town where the nearly 300-foot-long wall was knocked down by sudden and powerful winds. It was patched up for a festival within three hours of the fast-moving storm.

"The whole town came out," said Greg Welsh, who manages the wall for the Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard. "When they heard it happened, they came with tools and wanted to know how they could help."

The Brevard veterans group used to pay between $3,000 and $8,000 to rent a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall for its Wickham Park reunion, billed as the largest reunion of its kind in the nation. The Traveling Memorial Wall was built for use at the annual Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion in Melbourne and for rent elsewhere. The wall, plus truck and trailer to transport it, costs in excess of $250,000.

Since 1996, Welsh and his wife, Maureen, have taken the wall across the eastern half of the nation for reunions and other events.

read more here
Community rallies to patch up veterans wall

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Veterans say goodbye to Dignity Wall

Veterans touch the wall in the Call to the Wall during the closing ceremony for the Dignity Vietnam Memorial Wall at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier on Tuesday March 30, 2010. The last day of the traveling wall is also Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger/SWCITY)

Veterans say goodbye to Dignity Wall
By Sandra T. Molina Staff Writer
WHITTIER - The closing ceremony Tuesday for the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall was a time of reflection, healing and remembrance.

About 1,000 people - mostly veterans and their families - attended the final event of the 10-day program held at Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary.

Pico Rivera Councilman Bob Archuleta opened the program with "Welcome home," a phrase he said is used by combat veterans greeting one another.

Read more:
Veterans say goodbye to Dignity Wall

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bag of medals left at traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall in Bellingham

Bag of medals left at traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall in Bellingham

BELLINGHAM — No one would have guessed the contents of a brown plastic bag with a camouflage design laid against the Veterans Traveling Tribute, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The bag sat untouched, as are some other items left at the memorial, for almost two days before Shelley Prentice, the coordinator of the memorial’s visit, finally opened it. When she did, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

The bag contained five medals, including an Army Distinguished Service Cross — the nation’s second-highest military honor — and a Purple Heart, in their original blue tin cases.

“That’s just amazing,” Prentice said. “These are the highest medals you can get, short of the … Medal of Honor.”

Medals are occasionally left beside the traveling wall, a smaller replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C. The tradition of leaving items is believed to have begun in 1982 at The Wall in D.C. when someone put a Purple Heart in the concrete being poured during the memorial's construction, according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Web site.
go here for more

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Traveling war memorial makes stop in Central Florida

I should have added this yesterday because of all the confusion.
Last week there were several posts about traveling Vietnam Memorial Walls showing up in different parts of the country. A lot of people do not understand these Walls were created by different people. This is the difference between them.

The Moving Wall™ is a trademark of Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd. Since 1984, the traveling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
25th Anniversary Year

"The Moving Wall" is the half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the country for more than twenty years. When John Devitt attended the 1982 dedication in Washington, he felt the positive power of "The Wall." He vowed to share that experience with those who did not have the opportunity to go to Washington.

John, Norris Shears, Gerry Haver, and other Vietnam veteran volunteers built The Moving Wall. It went on display for the first time in Tyler, Texas in October of 1984.

Two structures of The Moving Wall now travel the USA from April through November, spending about a week at each site.

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall®

About Our Wall
Our Wall is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC, it stands six feet tall at the center and covers almost 300 feet from end to end.

This Traveling Memorial stands as a reminder of the great sacrifices made during the Vietnam War. It was made for the purpose of helping heal and rekindle friendships and to allow people the opportunity to visit loved ones in their home town who otherwise may not be able to make the trip to Washington.

Feel free to take a look at our website, read about what we have to offer, and please contact us with any questions you might have in regards to the Memorial Wall coming to your town.

Copyright The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall® 2006-09

About the Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard (V V B)

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall® is part of the Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard (V V B) located in Brevard County Florida.

The V V B is a 501(c)(3) organization that was formed and incorporated in December of 1985. The VVB is a grass roots, community based organization.

We strive to be an active member of the community by having a color guard and a rifle team to participate in local events. We also support a transitional housing facility which helps veterans in getting back up on their own.

We plan on taking this same dedication and putting it into the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall®; not only here in Brevard County, but other Florida counties and all of the United States as well.

The Wall That Heals

On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund unveiled a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States.

"Bringing The Wall Home" to communities throughout our country allows the souls enshrined on the Memorial to exist, once more, among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings. The traveling exhibit, known as The Wall That Heals, allows the many thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of "facing The Wall" to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin.

The Wall That Heals also features a Traveling Museum and Information Center providing a comprehensive educational component to enrich and complete visitors' experiences. The Museum chronicles the Vietnam War era and the unique healing power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, while the Information Center serves as a venue for people to learn about friends and loved ones lost in the war.

Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has visited more than 300 cities and towns throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial's healing legacy to millions. In addition to its U.S. tour stops, the exhibition made its first-ever international journey in April 1999 to the Four Provinces of Ireland to honor the Irish-born casualties of the Vietnam War and the Irish-Americans who served. It has also traveled to Canada.

For more information or to learn how to bring The Wall That Heals to your community, please contact the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund at (202) 393-0090 or via email at

Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most-visited National Park Service site in Washington, D.C. Even so, millions of Americans will never see or experience the impact of "The Wall" in their lives. To allow more people this opportunity, Dignity Memorial network providers created a three-quarter-scale traveling replica of the memorial in 1990.

Known as the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, this faux-granite replica is dedicated to all Americans who served in Vietnam and honors all servicemen and women of the United States military forces. Each year the replica crisscrosses the country, allowing millions of visitors to see and touch its black, mirror-like surface inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam. Every exhibition is sponsored by a local Dignity Memorial provider, with the help and support of area veterans groups and civic organizations.
This program is only available in the United States.

Now you may have a better idea of how these Walls can be showing up in different parts of the country at the same time. Naturally living in Florida, this one is the one I usually show up for. Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall®

Traveling war memorial makes stop in Central Florida
Darryl E. Owens COMMENTARY
June 27, 2009

After his mother gathered the family and broke the news that the Army had declared her son missing in action in Vietnam, Lar'Rio Walden fell against a nearby wall. He leaned against it for several minutes, in stunned silence.

Thursday, as Walden leaned into a sprawling faux granite wall erected outside a local resort, he was anything but silent. He tapped a spot on Panel 37E,

Row 73 where a name was engraved in capital letters.

And he encouraged anyone within earshot to never forget the soldier — his older brother — who came home in a flag-draped casket almost a month after his mother's heartbreaking bulletin.

"He was a great young man," recalled the 60-year-old Miami Gardens man. "I feel so sorry that he was called home so soon."

As Walden held court Thursday at the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center, the actual Vietnam Veterans Memorial stood hundreds of miles away in Washington. But he and the others who braved the merciless heat found a focal point for reflecting, mourning and celebrating loved ones and strangers lost in that war.

As the emotional centerpiece of its state convention, the American Legion Department of Florida, in conjunction with Dignity Memorial, brought to town a three-quarters-scale, faithful reproduction of the once-controversial Maya Lin creation
go here for more

Traveling war memorial makes stop in Central Florida

Vietnam Memorial replica comes to Central Florida Thursday
Darryl E. Owens Sentinel Staff Writer
June 24, 2009
Central Floridians are invited to visit the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, a three-quarter replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Wash., D.C., Thursday through Sunday during the 91st Annual American Legion Department of Florida Convention at the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center.

The memorial wall stands eight feet high and is 240 feet wide. The names of more than 58,000 service members who died or remain missing in action in Vietnam are inscribed on its black, reflective surface. Visitors will receive paper and pencils to make rubbings of the etched names.

The three-day public showing kicks off with an opening ceremony today at 10 a.m. The closing ceremony is Sunday at 11 a.m. Caribe Royale is located at 8101 World Center Dr., Orlando.,0,3970126.story

Friday, June 26, 2009

Moving Wall erected in Munnsville

Moving Wall erected in Munnsville
Published: Thursday, June 25, 2009
Oneida Dispatch - Oneida,NY,USA

Dispatch Intern

MUNNSVILLE — The Moving Wall has arrived.

The 253-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., began its five day stay at Stockbridge Valley Central School Thursday. The wall traveled to Munnsville in pieces and was assembled at the school. State and local police, Madison and Oneida Sheriffs’ departments and a motorcycle troop organized by the American Legion Riders escorted the wall from Vernon to Munnsville at 7:15 Thursday morning. In Munnsville, volunteers assembled the wall within two hours.

The Moving Wall was started in 1983 by three Vietnam Veterans from California who wanted to give people the opportunity to see the memorial who wouldn’t be able to make it to Washington. As of January, it has traveled to 1,155 communities across the country.

The wall’s trip to Munnsville is sponsored and organized by the American Legion Post 54. Volunteers began reading the wall’s names at noon Thursday and will continue 24 hours a day until 3:30 p.m. on Monday. The wall is available for viewing throughout that time. Volunteers will be on site to read names, assist visitors in finding names on the wall and collect donations. Donations will be used to offset the cost of bringing the wall to Munnsville and then all extra money raised will go towards the wall.

The Town of Stockbridge issued a proclamation declaring the week of June 21 through June 27 to be “Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Week.”
go here for more
Moving Wall erected in Munnsville

Veterans arrive for convention, visits to replica of 'The Wall'

Veterans arrive for convention, visits to replica of 'The Wall'
Statewide VFW convention in Buffalo rallies support to keep, enhance benefits
By Lou Michel and Jake May

Far from the front lines of foreign conflicts, veterans are assembling in Buffalo by the thousands to advance an agenda aimed at preserving and enhancing benefits they say were earned on the battlefield.

War veterans from several generations started gathering here Wednesday, with more than 900 motorcyclists escorting the largest traveling replica of the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial, known as “The Wall.”

There will be no shortage of those who pay tribute.

Today, some 3,000 Veterans of Foreign Wars members and their supporters open a statewide convention in downtown Buffalo. When they’re not focusing on health care and other issues, they will ride shuttles to Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora to visit the Vietnam memorial.

Amid all this, a deep sense of camaraderie will be shared among those who fought for American freedom. Making it even more hospitable, organizers say, is Buffalo’s reputation for patriotism.

“Everybody feels very welcome, and they are happy to be here,” said David M. Czarnecki, an Alden resident and president of the 90th annual New York Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention, which continues through Sunday in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.
go here for more
Veterans arrive for convention

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Moving Wall arrives with added emotional support services

A moving experience in Lakeport
By MANDY FEDER MediaNews Group
Updated: 06/12/2009 07:04:32 AM PDT

LAKE COUNTY The Moving Wall comes to Lake County Fairground today to Monday. It's free to view 24 hours a day, for the duration of the time the wall is on display in Lakeport.

It is constructed for those who cannot travel to Washington D.C. to view the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial wall.

Opening ceremony is at 9 a.m. on Friday. It is a no cost, no vendor event. The closing ceremony is June 15 at 12:30 p.m. An information tent with Directory of Names and refreshments will be available. A support services tent will be available with counseling and veteran service representatives. Chaplains and Vietnam veterans will be available for additional emotional support.
My vice president, George Dorner and I made out the application to the Vietnam Combat Veterans Ltd., there are a few other moving walls out there that are copies of the original moving wall. We wanted the original. It's hard to get. It's in high demand. It took us two years to get it, Dean Gotham, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 951 of Lakeport, said.

There are 58,256 names on the 252.8 foot, V-shaped, aluminum, tribute to those who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.

The names on the wall appear in chronological order based on the date of death. The names include confirmed casualties, as well as those who remain missing.

Gotham said he was elated when he found out that the wall would be brought to Lake County.
go here for more

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Honoring All Vietnam Era Veterans Day in Minnesota

Please email her and thank her for such a wonder article.

Viewpoint: Minnesota strives to support veterans, active military
Julie Bunn, Viewpoint Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
Published Tuesday, June 09, 2009

This past Memorial Day, while taking a week vacation with my family, I had the privilege of attending an early morning service at the Vietnam Support Base, Landside at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston, S.C.

For me, it was one of the most moving memorial services I have ever attended.

While the event honored all those that served and had given the ultimate sacrifice for our country, the setting and the speakers were chosen to make a special statement about, and to, those who served in Vietnam.

The service was held in the midst of a recreated Vietnam military base (an on-going exhibit), complete with buildings, jeeps, helicopters and support equipment.

The keynote speaker had led several units in Vietnam, and spoke eloquently and movingly of the young men who served under him, and their and their families’ sacrifices for our country.

Most importantly, in light of our present challenges, and our nation’s future, he spoke of the fact that these soldiers did not always receive the welcome home, after care or respect that they deserved.

We were here this Memorial Day not just to remember and honor them, but to learn from our past mistakes regarding how we responded at home.

Unfortunately, the world is such that we still face challenges and military conflicts around the globe. While as free citizens in a democracy, we may not always agree about the international and military policies and decisions of our elected leaders, and thus will continue to experience spirited debate around these issues.

We have, however, evolved as a country and citizenry in our unified show of support for our active military and veterans, and in our efforts to both be available to their families when they are away and meet their needs on their return home.

Throughout my service in the Minnesota Legislature, there has been universal support for initiatives to support our veterans and men and women in uniform.

During my first term in the Minnesota House of Representatives, we passed significant legislation to show veterans of every war that Minnesota recognizes their commitment and sacrifice.

In 2007, veterans' initiatives included funding for suicide prevention and psychological support for returning combat veterans, increased funding for the State Soldier Assistance Program and for Veterans County Service Officer Assistance grants, and a "GI bill" with extensive education benefits for returning soldiers.

In 2008, veterans' initiatives included tax credits for disabled veterans, exempting National Guard drill pay in-state and active services in Minnesota from taxes, and expanding the Minnesota GI Bill and the War Survivor's Act.

At the start of my second term, I am pleased to report that the Minnesota State Legislature remains committed to preserving programs and services for our veterans and National Guard.

In 2009, we continued to support our veterans and troops despite a record budget shortfall by increasing funding for Veterans Homes by 5.3 percent, for Veterans Services Programs by 6.1 percent, and for Military Affairs by 7.6 percent.

This coming weekend, we have yet another opportunity to reflect on and honor those who have served our country.

I invite you to join the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the Minnesota Veterans community on Saturday, June 13 at the State Capitol grounds as Minnesota Honors Vietnam Era Veterans.

On April 3, 2009, Gov. Pawlenty signed legislation declaring June 13 “Honoring All Vietnam Era Veterans Day” in Minnesota.

The day will begin at 8:50 a.m. with a Gold Star Family prayer service and end at 8 p.m. with evening entertainment.

Events will include the Vietnam memorial traveling wall, a parade of colors, a Killed-In-Action roll call, fly-overs and meeting opportunities with units and platoons.

This will be the largest Vietnam veteran event in Minnesota history and is free and open to the public.

For additional information, see the event website at, or contact Ms. Sarah Graves at (651) 757-1550 or e-mail

Finally, I invite you to join a new effort in our local communities to make sure that our military families have the on-going support they need.

Under the leadership of committed citizens and public officials, and in conjunction with a larger Yellow Ribbon Network, our communities are now organizing to provide greater avenues for support.

Please contact me (296-4244) to be linked to local efforts.

Bunn (DFL-Lake Elmo) represents District 56A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She can be reached at (651) 296-4244, by mail at 521 State Office Building, 100 Martin Luther King Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155 or via e-mail at