Vietnam War Veterans Day
Veterans and their families and friends gathered in the National Cemetery on Arsenal Island Tuesday morning for National Vietnam War Veterans Day. It honors all those who served in southeast Asia from 1955 to 1975.
Keynote speaker, John Lavelle, enlisted in the Army and spent nearly three years in Vietnam. But when he came home, there were no parades or celebrations.
"In most cases just a few short days from a bloody war zone, we came home to a world that seemed to have changed greatly, one that no longer seemed like home. Anger towards the war in Vietnam became anger towards the warrior."
Lavelle says 22 veterans kill themselves each day, and we need to recognize the effects of war on soldiers, and help them re-build their lives, in his words, "help them make it back."
Major General Chris Mohan, Commanding General of the Army Sustainment Command, says this is the 5th year we've observed Vietnam War Veterans Day, a belated effort to make up for their lack of recognition when they came home.
"It is a day to recognize those who did the right thing by doing their duty and going into service when their nation called, and who served well and honorably under extraordinarily trying circumstances."
Mohan says among the 58,000 killed during the war were 120 service members from Scott and Rock Island Counties. And 2,500 Vietnam veterans are buried in the National Cemetery.