LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Mike Nofs on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Friday, Oct. 27 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 Battle Creek in conjunction with the 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.
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 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at the 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, 3367 W. Dickman Road, Battle Creek.
South Haven native, Vietnam veteran, and Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Spc. 5 James C. McCloughan will perform the national anthem and address the audience. Retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert Secrist also will make comments.
RSVP to U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Sherry Swann at 269-274-8890 (email firstname.lastname@example.org) or to Kowall’s Director of District Affairs Lynn O’Brien at 517-373-0563 (email email@example.com).
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. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.
“We must never forget the sacrifices that our Vietnam veterans made for their country,” he said. “These pins are one way we declare that we remember, we are grateful, and we thank you.”
“It’s truly an honor to participate in the long-overdue recognition of these great Americans,” Nofs said. “The pins we present Vietnam veterans are a small token of our gratitude for their sacrifice on behalf of our state and nation.”
Michigan Air National Guard Col. Bryan J. Teff, commander of the 110th Attack Wing, is looking forward to the event.
“The 110th Attack Wing is honored to host and pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans,” Teff said. “Hosting this event on an active military installation is very appropriate as we honor these great Americans and their service to our nation.”
The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.
“While Michigan’s Vietnam veterans honorably served their nation, too many of them were not properly recognized for their service and did not receive adequate assistance upon their return,” Kowall said. “At our lapel pinning ceremonies, we take some time to let our veterans and their families know that we appreciate them for all they have done.”
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.
“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.
Guests should be aware that all vehicles entering Battle Creek Air National Guard Base are subject to inspection. For security, no bags or purses will be authorized in the event area, and individuals may be subject to metal detector inspection. Handicapped parking will be limited, although a shuttle service will be provided from the on-base parking area to the event.
The lapel pinning ceremony is not an official military function of the 110th Attack Wing.
Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.