Vietnam Veterans Day will be observed in Hillsboro on Tuesday, March 29 with a ceremony in front of the veterans memorial on the Highland County Courthouse lawn.
The ceremony will begin at 12 noon and will feature two speakers; displays of a recently assembled book dedicated to Highland County residents who lost their lives in Vietnam, an award-winning painting by local Vietnam veteran Gerold “Buzzard” Wilkin, and a plaque called the “Broken Wing Tribute — The Fallen Sons of Highland County”, listing the names of those from the county killed in Vietnam; and the honoring of deceased Vietnam veterans.
“If anybody is a relative of one of the deceased Vietnam veterans and has something they would like included in the book, bring it to be added,” Wilkin said, “because it will be there available for people to review.”
The speakers will be Gary Duffield and Jack Bredenfoerder. Duffield is president of the local Highlanders Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, and Bredenfoerder is treasurer of the Highlanders and incoming president of the Ohio Sons of the American Revolution.
The names on the plaque commemorating those who died in Vietnam include David Lynn McConnaughey of Hillsboro, James Harold Waulk of Greenfield, Robert Charles Wing of Greenfield, Charles Robert Lovedahl of Lynchburg, John Raymond Crouse of Hillsboro, Mark Loren Hook of Hillsboro, Carey Francis McAfee of Hillsboro, Neil James Morris of Greenfield, William Ernest Brown of Hillsboro, Ollie James Gross of Hillsboro and Donald Wayne Priest Jr. of Leesburg.
“We don’t want to forget them,” Wilkin said. “That’s the one day dedicated to them and as long as I’m kicking, we’re going to observe it.”
March 29 marks the day the last United States combat troop left Vietnam in 1973.
The public is invited to the observance.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was signed into law by former President Donald J. Trump, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
The special day joins six other military-centric annual observances — Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Navy Day and Veterans Day.
March 29 was chosen to be observed in perpetuity because March 29, 1973, was the day United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, was disestablished, and also was the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. In addition, on and around this same day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.
The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration honors all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.