By Steve Ranson
Nevada News Group
Nine million Americans served in the armed services between Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975—nearly two decades aligned with the Vietnam War. This generation of veterans is honored annually on “Vietnam War Veterans Remembrance Day.”
The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) National’s founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another” inspires annual celebrations that occur across the United States over the weekend.
On March 28 from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 of the VVA brings their annual remembrance celebration to Truckee Meadows Community College’s Dandini Campus where a special remembrance of Nevada’s Vietnam Fallen will take place in a ceremony and concert that pays tribute to all those who served in the armed forces during that time. The event is free and open to the public.
According to VVA 989 Chapter President J.R. Stafford, veterans returning home from service regardless of time or place sometimes face considerable challenges re-integrating into their communities. At times, seeking out support can be a long and difficult process; events like the Remembrance Ceremony provide veterans with a warm welcome, the opportunity to reconnect with each other and to connect with local resources.
“If you wear the uniform of our country — no matter when or where, there is a brotherhood and a sisterhood of shared experience,” Stafford said. “We’re partnering with TMCC to recognize and remember the fallen, but also to honor those who served and who are still serving our country.”
The ceremony will include a wreath-laying ceremony and a presentation by guest speaker Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan, assistant adjutant general of the Nevada Army National Guard and U.S. Army Intel COE.
“Hanifan will reflect on the Vietnam War experience and also look forward to the here and now of what our troops are doing,” Stafford said. His remarks will certainly speak to veterans and to students and community members on the necessity and need of keeping and strengthening the support we give to our troops.”
Stafford said the event will pay a special tribute to World War II veterans in the community, and Nevada’s fallen Vietnam veterans. The 191st Army Band, the “Band of the Wild West,” will also provide a free concert for the event.
“The event pays tribute to those who made it possible to live here, in particular, to those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said VVA 989 Event Planner Brigitte Stafford, who encourages veterans and community members alike to stop by on March 28 at 12:30 p.m. to support veterans from this war and others. She said attendees should be aware that the event is also a nonpolitical and nonfundraising event.
In addition to the planned program, there will be several community partners present ready to connect veterans with support services, which will include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS), Reno VET Center, Disabled American Veterans, Nevada Job Connect, Horses and Heroes and Honor Flight Nevada, among several others.
“The event can also help community members to see how they can support our veterans and how they can get involved,” said Stafford, who hopes that the event inspires others to pay tribute to those that have served.
Brendan Palin, Education Benefits pre-Admissions associate for TMCC’s Veteran’s Resource Center, said events like this are vital to communities as much as they are to veterans.
“This is an incredible opportunity to get out and meet our local veterans and reconnect with them. There will be resources available, too — I honestly can’t think of a better way to honor our veterans,” she said.