Vietnam Veterans get Welcome Home 50 years later

    The Vietnam Veterans took a bus trip to Indianapolis War Memorial Building on March 29 and then on to Plainfield High School for a program to declare March 29  as National Vietnam Veterans Day.

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    Former Ohio County Veterans Officer P.G. Gentrup organized the trip for Southeastern Indiana Vietnam Veterans.

    U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly welcomed hundreds of Vietnam War veterans from across Indiana along Gold Star families, veterans organizations, veterans of other eras, Vietnam veterans’ families, and friends and members of the community.  The ceremony honored Walter Bryant Jr. that was killed in Aurora in January 19, 2018.

    Kent Laudeman, a Vietnam War and Gulf War veteran from South Bend, was key speaker. Laudeman served in the U.S. Army for over 20 years, and currently serves as the Director of the Robert L. Miller Sr. Veteran’s Center for Homeless Veterans in South Bend.

Mike LaFollete talks with Indiana National Guard Brig. Gen. Ronald A. Westfall. Photo by Mason J. Uhlmansiek

     Senator Donnelly and Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania  put together bipartisan legislation that was signed into law by President Donald Trump in March of 2017.

   Indiana is home to nearly 150,000 Vietnam War veterans.

   Thursday’s ceremony included the setting of the “Missing Man Table,” symbolizing those who had gone missing in action and were never found. Afterward, the names of those missing men were read out loud as the Honor Guard responded “Still missing, sir.”

   Lawrenceburg resident Marie Edwards attended Thursday’s ceremony in honor of her late brother, Tommy Dennings, a two-time Purple Heart recipient who died in Vietnam after saving the life of one another soldier.

Veterans from throughout Southeastern Indiana were among the hundreds to attend the celebration of Vietnam Veterans Day on Thursday, March 29 at Plainfield High School near Indianapolis. The veterans toured the Indiana War Memorial Museum in downtown Indianapolis also. Photo by Mason J. Uhlmansiek