By Sarrah Peters
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Wilson-Parris Post 8600 located at 817 Rainbow Drive in Gadsden will host a Vietnam Veterans Appreciation Day on Saturday, September 22 from 2-6 p.m.
The VFW post has partnered with the national United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration organization to host events in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
The event will feature a ceremony to honor Vietnam veterans for their service with the presentation of commemorative pins and a certificate of recognition, which will begin shortly after the event begins at 2 p.m. The names of the 49 Vietnam War casualties from Etowah County will be read to honor their sacrifice to their country. The list of Vietnam casualties is still growing as remains are located of those that were missing in action. According to event chairman Danny Thornton, census data shows that there are about 2,750 Vietnam veterans that live in Etowah County, and Vietnam veterans make up the largest group of veterans in the county.
“But this is not just for the Vietnam War veterans, it’s for all veterans and for the families of the Vietnam veterans,” said VFW Commander Joyce Shelley. “It’s open to the public; it’s open to anybody who wants to honor veterans.”
Mentioning the unpopularity of the Vietnam War due to the draft, Thornton said that returning soldiers were frequently unappreciated and unsupported.
“They were never really given recognition for their service,” said Thornton.
“We can never make up for how they were treated back then,” said Shelley. “We are trying to do what we can with this program and with the community to make some kind of restitution for it.”
The event will include entertainment, including music. Children can enjoy a bouncy house, cornhole and more. With no count of how many will attend, the VFW has planned to provide food for “several hundred.”
As a partner with the national Vietnam War Commemoration organization, the VFW post is planning additional events in 2019 to honor Vietnam veterans. The VFW welcomes volunteers and community support for the future events.
For more information or to register, call Danny Thornton at 256-399-3451 or Joyce Shelley at 256-504-6917.