Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker expresses his appreciation to Vietnam veteran and retired Sgt. Maj. Bobby Langford during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29, hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 1067. Langford, the first vice president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067, called the roll call at the celebration that recognized the VVA chapter members who died during the past two years.
Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker expresses his appreciation to Vietnam veteran and retired Sgt. Maj. Bobby Langford during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29, hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 1067. Langford, the first vice president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067, called the roll call at the celebration that recognized the VVA chapter members who died during the past two years. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Lindsay Grant ) VIEW ORIGINAL

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- During a heartfelt ceremony delayed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local Vietnam veterans gathered at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial to celebrate patriotism and freedom, honor those lost in battle and share memories with a Redstone Arsenal three-star general whose father served alongside them in war.

The 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration, hosted by Chapter 1067 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, included a performance of the Vietnam song “My Brother” and “Amazing Grace,” a roll call of Vietnam veterans who have died in the past two years and a salute by the active duty in the audience to the Vietnam veterans in attendance. It was held March 29 on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, which marks the day, in 1973, when the last combat troops left Vietnam.

“On this historic day, we commit to you to continue to uphold the values that you fought for. Your dream of freedom, peace, prosperity and safety will continue to live on long after we are all gone. Let us never forget the sacrifices you made for all of us,” Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker , Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, told the 250 veterans, family members and other attendees at the celebration during his remarks.

Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, is presented the Vietnam Veterans of American medallion honoring his father, Sgt. First Class Flem Bowen “Donnie” Walker Sr., who served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a combat medic and died in November 2020. The medallion was presented by 
retired Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Miller, president of Chapter 1067 during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29. Sitting nearby is retired Brig. Gen. Bob Drolet.
1 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, is presented the Vietnam Veterans of American medallion honoring his father, Sgt. First Class Flem Bowen “Donnie” Walker Sr., who served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a combat medic and died in November 2020. The medallion was presented by
retired Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Miller, president of Chapter 1067 during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29. Sitting nearby is retired Brig. Gen. Bob Drolet.
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby)
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2 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, speaks to about 250 Vietnam veterans, family members and other attendees during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29.  More than 250 people attended the event.
3 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, speaks to about 250 Vietnam veterans, family members and other attendees during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29. More than 250 people attended the event. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
More than 250 Vietnam veterans, family members and other attendees listen to remarks made by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, at the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29, hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067.
4 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – More than 250 Vietnam veterans, family members and other attendees listen to remarks made by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, at the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29, hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
The wife of Vietnam veteran Richard Crimes receives a Presidential Life-Time Award/Veteran of the Year 2022 on behalf of her husband, who died recently. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29.  In the background is retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Perry, who served as a master of ceremonies.
5 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The wife of Vietnam veteran Richard Crimes receives a Presidential Life-Time Award/Veteran of the Year 2022 on behalf of her husband, who died recently. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. In the background is retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Perry, who served as a master of ceremonies. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Barbara Langford receives the 2022 Associates Vietnam Veteran of America Member of the Year Award for her support at recording secretary to VVA Chapter 1067. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. In the background is retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Perry, who served as a master of ceremonies.
6 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Barbara Langford receives the 2022 Associates Vietnam Veteran of America Member of the Year Award for her support at recording secretary to VVA Chapter 1067. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. In the background is retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Perry, who served as a master of ceremonies. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Retired Sgt. Glen Strain receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29.
7 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Sgt. Glen Strain receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Retired Col. Steven Froniabarger receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support as the chapter's buglar. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29.
8 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Col. Steven Froniabarger receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support as the chapter's buglar. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Joshua Perry receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support as the chapter's Sergeant-at-Arms. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29.
9 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Joshua Perry receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support as the chapter's Sergeant-at-Arms. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Retired Sgt. Jerry Cox receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29.
10 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Sgt. Jerry Cox receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Retired Staff Sgt. Tracy Wiggs receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29.
11 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Staff Sgt. Tracy Wiggs receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Retired Sgt. Bibb Collier receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for outstanding spiritual support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. Pictured with Collier is his family and VVA Chapter 1067 President retired Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Miller, far left; and retired Brigadier General Bob Drolet, second from left.
12 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Sgt. Bibb Collier receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for outstanding spiritual support to the chapter. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. Pictured with Collier is his family and VVA Chapter 1067 President retired Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Miller, far left; and retired Brigadier General Bob Drolet, second from left. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby.) VIEW ORIGINAL
Retired Sgt. Gregory Miley receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support as the chapter's historian and photographer. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29.
13 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Sgt. Gregory Miley receives an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 for his loyalty and support as the chapter's historian and photographer. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, deputy commanding general of the Army Materiel Command and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, on behalf of Chapter 1067 during the Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County, Ala., Veterans Memorial March 29. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
At the close of the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29, Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, poses with members of the Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 1067 under the blades of a Huey helicopter, a symbol of the Vietnam War. The event was hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067.
14 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – At the close of the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29, Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, poses with members of the Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 1067 under the blades of a Huey helicopter, a symbol of the Vietnam War. The event was hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
A renovated Huey helicopter, one of the symbols of the Vietnam War, serves as a backdrop for sharing Vietnam War stories at the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29. Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, enjoyed talking with Gold Star son and Vietnam War veteran retired Col. Marshall Eubanks, at right in gray jacket, and other members of the North Alabama Vietnam Helicopter Association. The event was hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067.
15 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A renovated Huey helicopter, one of the symbols of the Vietnam War, serves as a backdrop for sharing Vietnam War stories at the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29. Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general and Redstone Arsenal senior commander, enjoyed talking with Gold Star son and Vietnam War veteran retired Col. Marshall Eubanks, at right in gray jacket, and other members of the North Alabama Vietnam Helicopter Association. The event was hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Eben Boothby) VIEW ORIGINAL
Vietnam veterans salute during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29. The event was hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1067.
16 / 16 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Vietnam veterans salute during the 10th annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial March 29. The event was hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1067. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Lindsay Grant) VIEW ORIGINAL

More than 6 million Vietnam veterans and 9 million families of those who served live in America and abroad. More than 58,000 service members were killed in Vietnam and more than 153,000 came home wounded. More than 1,200 service members remain missing in action.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Miller, president of Chapter 1067, presented Walker with a Vietnam Veterans of America medallion in honor of Walker’s father, Sgt. First Class Flem Bowen “Donnie” Walker Sr., who served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a combat medic. Walker’s father, who is also being added to Chapter 1067’s Hall of Heroes, served more than 20 years in the Army, retiring in 1976 and moving back to the family farm in Lineville, Ala. He passed away in November 2020.

“My father was all about the Army. This means a great deal to me personally, as well as to my entire family,” Walker said of the recognition. “My father was indeed quite a man. It humbles me to talk about him. As we say down in Clay County, my dad was as tough as a ‘lightered stump’ or, put another way, he was Army strong. He gave his best years to the Army and to our nation.”

Walker said his father’s faith, love of family and commitment to service made him not only a hero to his son, but also inspired his son to military service.

“Because of him, I understand the cost we paid for the Vietnam War,” Walker said. “I look into the faces of the Vietnam veterans here today and I see my dad and it makes me smile. He may have fought alongside you, deployed with you or served with you during his 23 years of service.”

Walker said it is important to him to attend the local Vietnam veteran celebration so he could express appreciation for the continued service of veterans and demonstrate commitment to telling the Vietnam story.

“Your patriotism and love of nation runs deep, and I am proud to be able to stand not only among you but beside you each and every day,” he said.

Walker shared with the audience lessons from Vietnam that he learned from his father, including:

·        The human spirit can overcome the impossible. “The jungles of Vietnam created seemingly insurmountable challenges. Jungle warfare is unforgiving,” Walker said. “Public sentiment on your return created equally difficult challenge in your lives. But Vietnam veterans are a tough lot. You have survived, overcome and flourished. You are loved by your families and the communities where you call home. You are examples of what is means to fight for liberty and freedom, and for the red, white and blue.”

·        Vietnam veterans are honor bound to stand up for what they believe in.  “Many of you were drafted. All of you learned discipline, and when you were told to go to Vietnam, you went and did what was asked of you, and you looked after those who served with you,” Walker said. “You have shown the generations coming up behind you what it means to serve a nation committed to defending freedom throughout the world.”

·        It is important to take care physically, emotionally and spiritually. Despite the wounds of Vietnam, “today, you stand tall because you have overcome,” Walker said. “What’s more, you have reached out to your brethren and helped to bring them through those same challenges, and you have provided guidance, assistance and ceremonial honors to veterans of Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. I commend you for keeping alive the brotherhood that you first experienced in war.”

·        Not everyone says “Thank you” for military service. “As a nation, we are grateful to your generation of warriors and to your families who have stood by you. We can’t change what happened 50 years ago. But, through the nation’s Vietnam War Commemoration Program, we are committed to expressing our sincere gratitude for your service, and to honor your sacrifice,” Walker said.

The event was one of many around the nation as part of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, a national program authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched in 2012.