Vietnam veterans honored at ceremony


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Fort GreeneVille Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) hosted the National Vietnam War Veterans Day ceremony in Veterans Park at Greenville VFW Post 7262. The annual remembrance is held on March 29 each year in recognition of the ending of the Vietnam War. Fort GreeneVille DAR is a United States of America Vietnam War Commemorative Partner.

Debbie Nisonger explained the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 establishes March 29 as the national day to recognize the previously unsung patriotism of Vietnam veterans. She said, “Many people ask, ‘why March 29?’ March 29, 1973, was the day U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished. In addition, March 29, 1973, was the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. Finally, March 29, 1973, was the day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.

Nisonger clarified that there should be no distinction made between veterans who served in-country, in-theater or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. “All were called to serve, none could self-determine where they were stationed, and all were seen in the same way by a country that could not separate the war from the warrior,” she said. She continued, “Each person who served during this period earned and rightly deserves our profound thanks. We also recognize the 58,281 men and women whose names are engraved in the polished black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.”

Several elected officials were on-hand to share their thoughts on the day and issue proclamations.

Commissioner Matt Aultman said, “This is also coinciding with Holy Week. As so many people sacrificed their lives for the Vietnam War, so has our savior sacrificed His life. Very rarely does it coincide on Good Friday.” He presented a proclamation signed by all of the commissioners to Fort GreeneVille DAR recognizing Vietnam War Veterans Day. Aultman pointed out there are 3,095 names of Ohioans on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. “So far, there are lot of individuals from rural communities, country folks, who give and sacrifice and go out to war and protect our way of life. It’s fitting to remember those who served and those who sacrificed their lives,” he added.

Commissioner Marshall Combs, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps., said, “I want to thank all of the men and women for sticking up for America and when you heard that call to action years and years ago you were just young kids, maybe 17, 18 or 19 years old. To give up your lively hood here at home to go to a foreign country to fight for our freedom in America, I just want to thank all of you.” He added, “Without people like you, America would be nothing. We will always have a battle with another country. The world will probably never be at peace and it’s people like you that keep the freedoms intact here in our country.

Commissioner Larry Holmes said, “This is always a special day for me. The Vietnam War is the war of my generation. I had an uncle that did not come back from Vietnam.”

Greenville Mayor Jeff Whitaker presented a proclamation on behalf of the City of Greenville. He proclaimed March 29, 2024, as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Greenville.

Arcanum Mayor Bonnie Millard said, “I didn’t come here to talk this morning, but I want to give a thank you to everyone who served.” She is the mayor of a Purple Heart Community, and a ceremony will be held in September recognizing those who have received the Purple Heart. Millard said the date will be announced at a later date.

In addition to recognizing the Vietnam veterans, the Fort GreeneVille DAR also recognized the Darke County and Versailles Honor Guard for their contributions and service to veterans and community events.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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