Activities to honor Vietnam veterans will be held in Temple and other cities this week.
On Wednesday, the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System will honor Vietnam veterans at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Temple. The health care system will hold events at its other facilities this week.
In Temple, staff will greet veterans in the main lobby area and hand out certificates and a 50th anniversary commemoration pin to each Vietnam War era veteran who comes through the doors. Staff and volunteers will also visit community living centers, rehabilitation and inpatient unites to hand out to those who are Vietnam veterans. Vietnam-era war memorabilia will also be on display.
The health care system will also honor Vietnam veterans in Waco on Tuesday. An Austin event will be Thursday.
A year ago, President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017. The act honors the sacrifices of American soldiers and their families during the period of the Vietnam War while designating every March 29 — the date of departure of United States military personnel from Vietnam in 1975 — as National Vietnam Veterans Day.
Other local cities will celebrate National Vietnam Veterans Day on Thursday.
* The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1000 will host a commemorative breakfast starting at 9 a.m. at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3892, 201 VFW Drive in Harker Heights. The guest speaker for the event will be state Rep. Hugh D. Shine of Temple. The cost is $7 per ticket. For more information, call 254-466-3441 or 254-368-0993.
“Rep. Shine has done a really good job representing veterans,” said Harry Luther, past president of Chapter 1000.
Chapter member Victor Wiggins said “issues important to veterans … like agent orange, mental health, and veteran’s benefits” are important to Vietnam veterans and organizations give veterans a voice.
* The Killeen Heights Vet Center staff will host a cookout from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights. The park is at 400 Millers Crossing. In case of inclement weather, the cookout will be at the Killeen Heights Vet Center, 302 Millers Crossing, suite 4. The event is free and open to the public, although the focus is on Vietnam War veterans and their families. For more information, call the Vet Center at 254-953-7100.
Tiffany Brown, a program support assistant with the vet center since 2010, said the picnic is “to welcome home Vietnam Veterans who did not get a proper welcome home.”
The cookout will honor veterans and their families with commemorations, pins and bumper stickers. Last year’s 50th anniversary Vietnam event hosted by the Vet Center saw a tremendous turnout, and officials are expecting good attendance this year, too.
* In Lampasas, all Vietnam-era veterans who served in the U.S. military, including the Coast Guard, between November 1955 and May 1975, whether you served in Vietnam or not, are invited to be awarded the commemoration certificate and pin commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War (if not already received) at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Old Middle School Cafeteria at 199 N. Main St., in Lampasas.
FME News Service contributed to this report.