May 22 to 28, 2017, is a very special commemorative event for all Vietnam vets. By a 2012 presidential proclamation and at the request of the national project director for the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration, key Vietnam veteran volunteers joined a state planning committee. Hawai‘i was asked to host not only local events, but also the United States National Vietnam War Commemoration Symposium, Memorial and Celebration, with participation by American dignitaries and military representatives from all of the countries that supported U.S war efforts in Vietnam. Last year, Gov. David Ige issued a letter of support.
I am a Tet Offensive survivor and a member of this planning committee. Seven planning commitee members and one advisory board member belong to Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), O’ahu Chapter 858. One of my responsibilities is to notify all Vietnam veterans about this weeklong event, May 22 through May 28, 2017, when we will all finally be “welcomed home.”
Core events in Honolulu are a great parade in Waikīkī, a concert, a reception, a taste of Hawai‘i night or a lū‘au, a POW/MIA/Gold Star family dinner or lū‘au, and a memorial ceremony at Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.
Maybe you are thinking as I did when I joined this committee — What! Are you kidding? Too little too late! But then I thought, Hmmmm! Better late than never! Please join us May 22 through 28.
If I lived on O‘ahu, I would register this way:
• Go to www.vietnam50years.org/contact
• Type in this message: “I AM ONLY GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PARADE AND THE PUNCHBOWL CEREMONY WHICH ARE FREE. PLEASE ADVISE ON HOW TO REGISTER.”
• DO NOT sign up or pay for anything else.
• Then register on this website: www.dod.hawaii.gov/ovs/50th-anniversary-vietnam/
If I were not on O‘ahu, I would search online for an air/hotel/car rental package that fits my budget, then follow the steps above to register.
If you want to march with VVA Chapter 858 in the parade in Waikīkī, please contact me.
Rona Adams, president, VVA O‘ahu Chapter 858
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