Ceremony to honor Vietnam War veterans held at old courthouse lawn

April Lovette

In observance of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, a ceremony was held on the old courthouse lawn in Hope today to honor and recognize those who served in the Vietnam War. Local veterans and citizens gathered together near the monuments to hear about the special importance of this day. Events began with the presentation of the flags, a prayer, and a song selection of “God Bless America” by Shelley Keith.

When Bonnie Raff, with the John Cain Chapter of DAR and facilitator of the event, took the podium, she said that DAR and the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office were proud co-sponsors of the event and that it was “an honor and a privilege to honor the Vietnam veterans right here in Hope, Arkansas.” She went on to explain that this national commemoration was authorized by Congress, established by the Secretary of Defense, and launched by the President in 2012 with the primary purpose of thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans, those nine million heroes, for their service and sacrifice. Raff also shared that The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 established March 29 as the national day of honor for previously unsung patriots of the Vietnam War for various reasons. Just to name a few: March 29 1973 is when the last U.S. troops departed Vietnam, as well as the day Hanoi released the last acknowledged prisoners of war. Raff quoted the President’s words from his proclamation: “We vow to never again confuse personal disapproval of a war with prejudice against those who are honorably wearing uniforms of the armed forces.”

Also part of the ceremony, Mayor Don Still read his proclamation, stating citizens of Hope, Arkansas join fellow Americans in “honoring those who answered the call of duty,” and said that he felt privileged to be there today to pay respect to our brave veterans. Raff and fellow DAR members explained the colors and symbols of the commemorative flag, as well as why the words “Service. Valor. Sacrifice.” were fitting words to be placed on this flag. They also presented each veteran in attendance with a special Vietnam Veteran Lapel pin, symbolizing that very service, valor, and sacrifice.

Another ceremony will be held in two years, March 29, 2025, at the end of the 13-year Vietnam War Commemoration. As ceremonies came to a close, Raff shared with the crowd, “I hope to see you all here in 2025.”

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