American Legion honors Vietnam-era veterans

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

American Legion Post 49 in Smithfield hosted a dinner and recognition program for 70 guests including 30 Vietnam-era veterans on March 24.

This event has been hosted annually by the Post to acknowledge the March 29 National Vietnam Veterans Day established in 2018.  The holiday recognizes the 25th anniversary of the end of American involvement in the Republic of Vietnam, which concluded March 29, 1973, when the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) was disbanded.  

The program included entertainment by the musical duo “22,” presentations of lapel pins to Vietnam-era Veterans, personal reflections by veterans themselves and a guest speaker.  

Retired Army Col. Dr. Michael Hagan of Mineral, Virginia, recounted his service in Vietnam as an artillery officer, and his recent role as a senior executive in the Veterans Administration with a story about one soldier he served with who contacted him several decades later for assistance with VA medical care.

Post Chaplain Charlie More presented Vietnam-era Lapel Pins to six veterans who had not previously received them and honored all who served during that time anywhere in the world. One attendee whose brother died in that conflict was honored as a Gold Star Family member.  Attendees recounted their personal experiences in Vietnam to include two who had large bounties placed on them by the enemy because of their effectiveness in combating Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army.

Anna’s Ristorante of Smithfield catered the meal which was served to the attendees by the American Legion Auxiliary and other volunteers.

The Isle of Wight County Museum will host a Vietnam veterans program at 12:30 p.m. on March 29.