By Meladi Brewer
VERSAILLES – The local veterans paid tribute to Rosie the Riveter and WWII this weekend.
The public was invited to attend a two-day event, from Sept. 3 to 4, for a weekend of festivities featuring Rosie the Riveter, military vehicles, the Ohio Vietnam Wall, and evening karaoke.
Although the festivities were family-friendly and enjoyed by many, it is important to understand the significance of the history that was presented this past weekend. The Ohio Vietnam Wall was on display.
The wall pays tribute to all the Prisoners of War (POWs) and Missing in Action (MIAs) in Vietnam from Ohio. The wall contains 134 names.
“There are 2800 names all together. Ohio has the 3rd-highest POW, MIAs from Vietnam with 134,” Chris Schimpf with the Chained Eagles of Ohio said. “Ohio is under California and New York.”
Though the war happened 76 years ago, the aftermath still takes a hold of various families who seek out answers.
“For a lot of Vietnam vets, the wall has, I suppose, provided some type of understanding in some way,” Schimpf said.
Not only does the event help veterans, but families who come to the wall and this weekend’s activities were able to experience a part of their own history as well.
“This is my dad, Lt. Col. James Condon,” Jenny Condon said. “This is the picture of him when he was released from Vietnam as a POW.”
Lt. Col. Condon served in the Air Force for 24 years and was shot down during the Christmas bombings of Hanoi in 1972 where he was taken as a POW. His picture was displayed on the side of a military vehicle where passersby could view it.
Many spectators walked past the vehicle without understanding the meaning behind the man’s smile in the black and white photo. However, for Jenny Condon and Kelly Trump, the image holds a deeper meaning, and their pride in the man he was shines brightly.
“He was a great community leader in Versailles,” Condon said. “He was active at the Eagles, St. Denis Church, and many others.”
Lt. Col. Condon was one of four who were captured that day, and he was one of two who were returned through negotiation.
At 11 a.m. on Saturday, the local veterans and Honor Guard paid tribute to the fallen and missing soldiers with a 21-gun salute followed by the playing of “Taps.” A Waco Flyover was also presented.
For more information regarding the Chained Eagles and future events follow The Chained Eagles on Facebook.
To contact Daily Advocate reporter Meladi Brewer email [email protected]