Become a Commemorative Partner with the Vietnam War Commemoration

Written by: Rebecca Ann Bowen-Odom, National Vice Chair, Commemorative Events, 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
August 10, 2016

I am incredibly honored to be Moving Forward in Service to America with the Dillon Administration as the National Vice Chair, Commemorative Events Committee, for the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.

There was a great deal of unrest in our country during the years of the Vietnam War.  As a teenager I listened to the evening reports of the battles occurring, our young soldiers dying, people demonstrating against it, and many young men avoiding the draft by immigrating to Canada.

The men and women who served our country during the Vietnam War were oftentimes treated poorly by their fellow countrymen when they returned.  They saw friends give their lives for this nation, and it was sometimes not fully appreciated.  These veterans have not forgotten that treatment and it has affected their lives in many ways. Participating in the Vietnam Commemoration gives each of us a chance to help heal these emotional wounds and thank them for their service. 

My older brother, John Bowen, was in college and doing well and I assumed he would never have to serve.  He, however, had other plans.  Rather than file the paperwork for a college deferment, he joined the Army and volunteered to serve in Vietnam. John was with the 9th Infantry Division Mobile Riverine Force.  They would take boats down the Mekong, be dropped off in the jungle then locate and fight the Vietcong. I watched and listened to the news constantly and saw firsthand how unfairly our soldiers were treated when they arrived home.

Many did arrive home, including my brother.

We have an entire generation of Americans 50 years old and younger, who may not know exactly what our Vietnam Veterans faced both in Vietnam and when they returned home

Idaho installed a beautiful Memorial to the 217 Idahoan service members that did not make it home from Vietnam.  I was honored to be a part of that ceremony by reading some of those brave men’s names.  The Monument is made of the same black granite as the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC.  It has medallions embedded in it representing all the branches of the military, and a large medallion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.  Unfortunately, it was vandalized less than two weeks after being installed in the Veterans Memorial Park by someone who removed the medallions from the stone.  Thankfully, our community was passionate about restoring proper respect for the memorial and those brave men and immediately raised the money necessary for repairs.

It is now our responsibility to become involved with the Vietnam War Commemoration to help give these brave men and women receive the respect and honor they deserved when they returned home.  I want to encourage all chapters to join the Vietnam Commemoration as a Commemorative Partner.  Currently 10 states have 100% chapter participation.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if during Mrs. Dillon’s administration every state could have 100% chapter participation?

The Commemorative Events Committee web page has links to show how easy it is to become a partner.  I will be honored and eager to help any chapter who wants to join and to help you organize activities to honor our Veterans. 

Please join me in Moving Forward in Service to America by partnering with The Vietnam War Commemoration.  

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