By Mr. Darryl Howlett (First Army)March 29, 2016
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Noble deeds and honorable service were inspired words describing Vietnam veterans during an Easter weekend ceremony here.
Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 299 hosted its National Vietnam Veterans Day Commemorative Service on March 26 inside Rock Island Arsenal's Heritage Hall.
First Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Michael S.Tucker, served as one of the guest speakers during the annual service.
"We all know the frustration many Americans displayed over the Vietnam War, and it was taken out on the noble veterans who were drafted to serve their country," said Tucker.
"However, the good news is that since Desert Storm and 9/11, Americans have seen the error in their misguided view of our Vietnam veterans, and to this day, great strides have been made to demonstrate proper respect and appreciation for the sacrifice and dedication these veterans displayed on behalf of this great nation."
Nationally, the day of March 29, 2016, has been set aside as the observance of National Vietnam Veterans Day. This date is accepted as the day that the last combat troops left Vietnam in 1973.
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos said Vietnam veterans are deserving of praise for their service.
"They fought with honor and they answered the call to serve," she said. "They put it all on the line for our country…and they made sacrifices that most of us can truly never understand."
Maj. Gen. Kevin G. O'Connell, commanding general, Army Sustainment Command, spoke of keeping Vietnam War veterans' stories alive.
"We pay homage to these veterans by telling their stories and honoring their Families who have sacrificed so tremendously for this nation."
The ceremony also presented honors to one local family who lost a relative during the Vietnam War. Honors were presented to the family of Army Spc. 4 Gale Kurk Vogler, who was killed in action on March 11, 1967. Illinois State Rep. Neil Anderson presented a shadow box displaying Vogler's awards and decorations to his family.
Outside of Heritage Hall, veterans concluded the ceremony by conducting a rifle salute, flag folding presentation to the Vogler family and the paying of "Taps."