Reminder: Kowall and Nofs honoring Vietnam era veterans at Hastings event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Mike Nofs on Wednesday reminded interested parties of a county-wide, formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, June 10 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Nofs, R-Battle Creek, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Hastings in Barry County in conjunction with the American Legion Post 484 Hickory Corners, American Legion Post 140 Middleville, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 7 Battle Creek, Military Order of the Purple Heart USA Chapter 110, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4461 Lake Odessa, and American Legion Riders Post 45.

The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans, Gold Star Mothers and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, at the Barry Expo Center Exhibition Hall (home of the Barry County Fair), 1350 N. M-37, in Hastings.

The master of ceremonies will be retired U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard Col. Frank J. Walker, currently an Air Force Academy Admissions liaison officer and veteran advocate. The guest speaker will be Brig. Gen. Michael A. Stone, assistant adjutant general for installations for the Michigan Army National Guard and deputy director, Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.

RSVP to Barry County American Legion Commander Jim Gross at 616-328-1343 or by email at j.gross13@yahoo.com.

The event will be supported by members of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, who will be in attendance. The Commemoration was congressionally authorized to do what should have been done over 50 years ago: thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

Kowall and Nofs will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

In support of the Vietnam veterans, a motorcycle procession by American Legion Riders Post 45 will formally open the ceremony. The post welcomes all motorcycles, trucks and cars to join the procession. Riders will depart at 12:45 p.m. from American Legion Post 45 at 2160 S. M-37 in Hastings. The Barry County Sherriff’s Department will provide a police escort. For more information, contact John-John Richards, vice president of the American Legion Riders Post 45, at 269-870-0660.

Additional event highlights:
•    The 110th Attack Wing Air National Guard Unit and the Barry County Honor Guard will present and retire the colors;
•    The 110th Attack Wing Air National Guard Unit will present military honors for the POW/MIA Missing Man Table;
•    Joanna Lauren will perform the national anthem and God Bless America;
•    The Delton Kellogg High School Band will perform under the direction of band director Sara Knight; and
•    Every child attending the ceremony will receive an American flag;

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.