MILLEDGEVILLE — The Nancy Hart Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by honoring and remembering war heroes during a special program.
“We want to recognize and give thanks to people who fought in Vietnam. Most of us, even though we lived through it, have forgotten,” said Therry Deal, local DAR chair of the commemorative event committee. “We really owe the persons who were at that war gratitude doing for their country what it asked for them to do.”
The observance is slated from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Birdsong Recreation Center of the Georgia War Veterans Home, located at 2249 Vinson Highway.
Refreshments will be served following the program.
“There will be a brief patriotic ritual and a couple of people will bring greetings from different organizations,” Deal said. “The public is invited to participate, particularly Vietnam veterans. We want to recognize appreciatively individuals who were there, not just veterans at the Georgia War Veterans Home, but anybody that was involved in the war in Vietnam.”
The keynote speaker for the program will be retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Thomas “Tug” Greer. A Milledgeville native, Greer graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1951. He went on to serve two tours of duty in the Vietnam War.
“Every administration of the DAR has some commemorative event that they recognize. This administration is recognizing the war in Vietnam as one of those,” Deal said. “We’re involved because we honor and respect people who have served our country.”
As stated in a press release by the U.S. Department of Defense, America’s ground war in Vietnam began on March 8, 1965 when 3,500 Marines were deployed with the American public’s support. By Christmas, nearly 200,000 soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors were in the country. At war’s end on April 30, 1975, nearly 3 million Americans had been on the ground, in the air and on rivers of Vietnam. More than 58,000 Americans lost their lives.
While the official 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be in 2015, the president and Congress requested the secretary of Defense to begin planning the Vietnam War commemoration in 2007. The goal is to get more than 10,000 corporations, civic groups as well as government and community organizations to join as partners and help sponsor hometown events to honor Vietnam veterans, their families and those who were prisoners of war and missing in action.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued a proclamation Sept. 19 to recognize the partnership in the North Wing of the State Capitol and asked Georgians to participate in recognizing the 50th anniversary by thanking veterans who fought or died in the war as part of the state’s POW/MIA Day recognition events.
“It’s very important to honor our veterans because a lot of us lived through the Vietnam War and how they were portrayed to be treated was not good. There were acts of protests and veterans were following the duties they had to follow. It was heart-wrenching to see,” said Dennis Mize, administrator of the Milledgeville Georgia War Veterans Home. “War veterans are somewhat overlooked, and it wasn’t popular to be patriotic back then. It’s a shame that it has taken 50 years for these individuals to be recognized.”
Of the 232 veterans at the Georgia War Veterans Home, 87 veterans served in Vietnam.
“This program is not only an honor to those veterans at the Georgia War Veterans Home, but all Vietnam veterans in surrounding counties,” said Ernie Simons, director of health and memorials at the local veterans home. “The objective of this commemoration is to thank and honor those in the Vietnam War, including those missing in war and those missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States to thank those veterans and their families.”
For more information about the upcoming commemorative event call Deal at 706-473-9775.
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