By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (August 9, 2016) – Vietnam Era military veterans will soon be honored as part of a national commemoration that spans more than 12 years.
Congressman Roger Williams will present the United States of American Vietnam War Commemoration Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to those who served in the military from any location over a 20-year period, November 1, 1955 through May 15, 1975.
The ceremony will take place during a town hall meeting set for 2 p.m. Monday, August 22 at Stephenville City Hall Council Chambers.
Roger Easter, Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240 adjutant/historian, said Tuesday more than 80 veterans had submitted their names to be a part of the ceremony. With a large turnout expected, event organizers are considering a change of venue to accommodate the sizeable crowd of honorees and family members.
The Flash will publish a new location and date if new arrangements are made.
Eligible veterans must contact Roger Easter at email@example.com or 254-965-0806 or Disabled American Veterans Commander Harry Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-5660 to receive honor at the ceremony this month. First and last name and middle initial, as well as rank and branch of service should be provided the local contacts no later than Friday, August 12.
The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act empowered the Secretary of Defense to conduct a commemoration program on behalf of the nation. The official commemoration of the Vietnam War began on Memorial Day 2012 and concludes on Veteran’s Day 2025. It was declared by a proclamation signed by President Barack Obama on May 25, 2012 at the inaugural event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., according to the commemoration website, www.vietnamwar50th.com.
“As the President stated, we, as a nation, will commemorate the 50th anniversary over a long period of time, as many Americans served and sacrificed over that long period of time,” the website explains.
The pins serve as a collective symbol of appreciation for military service and the sacrifice of veterans and their families.
The face of each pin depicts an eagle, representing courage, honor and dedicated service; a blue circle, matching the cannon of the American flag and signifying vigilance, perseverance and justice and matching the official seal of the Vietnam War Commemoration; a laurel wreath, representing victory, integrity and strength; stripes, also representing the American flag; and six stars representing the six allies – Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and the United States.
The back of the pin is embossed with the message “A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You,” along with the official name of the commemoration to remind the honored veteran of the nation’s memento of gratitude.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 9 million Americans actively served in U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. The VA estimates almost 7 million of those Veterans are alive today, with almost 542,000 of them counted as Texas residents in the fiscal year 2014.