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Vietnam Veterans Finally Welcomed Home

Hundreds of veterans from across Macomb County showed up for the "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans" open house at Bruce VFW Post.

Hundreds of area veterans descended on in St. Clair Shores Wednesday to enjoy some good food, lively discussions and warm camaraderie.

The celebration was part of the first observance, recently enacted by the U.S. Senate, and set for March 30 to commemorate the day soldiers started returning from the Vietnam War.

Tara Perez, commander of VFW Bruce Post, said she knew that they were going to have a good turnout for the event–but even she was surprised by how many people showed up for the celebration.

“I knew we had a lot of calls and there was a lot of interest but I had no idea this many people would show up,” she said. “Everyone showed up right at 6 p.m., too. It was definitely a surprise.”

Veterans attending the event weren’t just members of VFW Bruce Post. Many came from other area veterans’ organizations throughout Macomb County in an effort to show support to VFW Bruce Post for hosting the open house.

“I’ve talked to a lot of different people from all over the county,” said Vietnam veteran Tim Litz. “I think this is a great way for us to all come together.”

As for the day itself, Litz says the recognition was a long time in the making.

“This is long overdue,” he said. “I think this is something that should have been recognized a long time ago.”

Former Bruce VFW Post Commander Morgan Schmidt agreed.

“I think the turnout is fantastic,” he said. “Not only was this day long overdue, but it serves as a wake-up call for veterans coming home now. Back then, our Vietnam veterans came home amidst a lot of disrespect. I hope we’ve learned our lessons from that.”

As part of the open house celebration, area veterans were invited to attend along with loved ones and other family members. While there, they were offered a complimentary buffet and a chance to indulge in a few drinks and chat with friends.

“I’ve met a lot of great people here,” said Bev Rogers, a resident of Richmond who came down with her husband to the event. “I think the veterans community is very tight-knit, and I like the way everyone came here together. It was really wonderful.”

Rogers said she met the wife of another Vietnam veteran who was attending the event and already made plans to go shopping with her next week.

“I think things like this are important not just for the (veteran) but for families as well,” she said. “This gives the (veterans) a chance to get together and reminisce and talk about things that might be on their mind–but in a nice and relaxed environment.”

For his part, Litz agrees.

“This is something that I’ve been (wanting) for a long time,” he said. “I’m very proud to have fought in the Vietnam War, and I’m very proud that so many people turned out to honor that service here tonight.”

The turnout was so extreme, Perez says she hopes to make this an annual event.

“We got so many people that I think we’re definitely going to have to do this again,” she said. “Maybe next year we can plan it a little better and have it in the bigger hall, though. I really am happy we had such a great turnout, though. It means a lot to a lot of people.”

JohnP March 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM
In R.I. a group that goes by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association welcomed home their Vietnam Vets in 2010 by refusing membership to a Nam vet who served in a RECON unit, terminated 4 other Vietnam vets for asking the state rep there, WHY. Terminated a disabled era vet and forced out a Gulf War Vet.
brewster March 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM
brewster RI CVMA Chapter 9-1 denies membership to a quakified vietnam combat veteran, throws out 4 vietnam combat veterans and one vietnam era veteran for asking a question, " why was the vietnam combat vet denied membership into the cvma ? " Also a gulf war combat veteran was forced out of the chapter for wanting to give food to the homeless vets instead of a police dept. This is what the RI Chapter 9-1 calls veterans helping veterans. I will never ride in an event with them for they are disrespectful to combat veterans.
dalmazzi March 31, 2011 at 01:59 PM
We the RICVMA do not want Viet Nam for members. most of them have been outside the wire and earned the right be real combat vets. Here in Rhode Island we feel that they would be a threat and we would be voted out. the other big problem with the CVMA is $20,000 missing,these donations were for veteran homes like the Fisher House. seems like a lot of paper work is missing so Eagle passed the buck to the VP and got rid of him. another thing about the R.I CVMA is this federal tax number, with friends working at Ocean State Harley Davidson members of the CVMA come up with new motorcycles and who they knew at Ocean State is not there anymore. I was a full member of the CVMA life member, when I heard what was going on in Rhode Island I cut my patch off and went with the brother hood, looks like I am out also, with Eagle (Mike Long) he takes away your freedom of speach, sounds like he wants nothing about the $20,000 to be talked about. I think the CVMA should be investagted on a state and federal not for just $20,000 but all the partys the R.I. CVMA has and where does the money come from????????? I will never ride with the CVMA of donate one red cent. I used Dalmazzi for a name here to post, his name should be remembered as someone that disrespects Nam vets he is the SR and the RR can't be left out, he is just as bad.
Tara Perez March 31, 2011 at 04:13 PM
This day was meant to be positive and give a long overdue welcome home to our Vietnam Vets! We should be honoring instead of any nay saying! Tara Perez, Bruce Post VFW 1146, MI
dalmazzi March 31, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Tara Perez, what you do not understand in these people have no respect for veterans. you need to read what everyone is saying about them. lets be possitive about this, $20,000 missing and it is a hush deal, whats up with that? I voiced my opinoin and lost my freedom of speach from the NBOD, what respect would you like to have from a dictator like mike long. he lets the R.I. chapter throw out viet nam vets fo no reason. the stste rep and the regeional rep need to be releived of their possition. I am a Viet Nam combat vet and have a lot of respect for the brotherhood, always did and always will. Sir you need to do some research on whats going on with the R.I. CVMA and see what you find, it starts from the NBOD down.
dalmazzi March 31, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Mr Perez, here is one comment that was left on another site. In 2010 & 2011 the R.I. Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association shamed Vietnam veterans by refusing membership to a 100% qualified Nam vet and terminating those who asked the R.I. CVMA state rep why. The National CVMA BOD backed this disrespectful act toward these Nam vets. Some things have not changed for the Nam vet and the R.I. CVMA and its National BOD proved it with their shameful actions. Today
Tara Perez March 31, 2011 at 05:15 PM
First of all it is Ms. Perez. Secondly I respect your info shared, however didn't feel this was the forum to share negative info on such a positive day long awaited. You Vietnam Veterans deserve more and if we can welcome you home on this day it is a start. Nothing can change what happened and apparently still happens in RI. Thank you for your service and welcome home! Our VFW organization supports all Vietnam vets, maybe you could consider joining our fine organization. We "honor the dead by serving the living"!
NamVet March 31, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Ms. Perez, the American Public blamed us, the Vietnam veteran, for a war they were asded to take part in by the government. We were shunned, labled, not hired and not wanted by the VA, the VFW and other service orgs and the American public, the people who paid for our blood with their tax money. Its not about being nice or giddy here or there, the truth is this veteran organization on two wheels (CVMA) disgraced Vietnam veterans and other veterans because they stood up to the R.I. Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association state representative. The National BOD of this CVMA backed the disrespect of the R.I. CVMA because it was the easiest thing to do. We the Vietnam veteran did not get where we are now by backing off or not saying our piece. This R.I. CVMA has a member who is the R.I. VFW state commander. He stood by while the R.I. CVMA and its national spit in these veterans faces. He even added his two cents on the internet, bad mouthing the Vietnam vet who was not allowed to join the CVMA and get this, the Nam Vet denied is a VFW member. Check it out for yourself, <a href="http://www.disclosurenewsonline.com/2010/06/08/fundraiser-saturday-for-the-wounded-warrior-project/comment-page-1/#comment-15687"> </a> The same ol' to some Ms. Perez, and that is not thanking the Vietnam veteran but trying to humiliate them like the CVMA in R.I. and its National have done. We the Vietnam veteran is not going to let this happen.
Daniel Rodgers March 31, 2011 at 10:02 PM
God Bless our Vietnam Vets as well as all of those who served in the military to maintain our freedom in this great country of ours. For those few or many that persecuted you Vets when you returned home, I can only say I believe in Karma and they will get what they deserve. This event that occurred at the VFW Post cannot take away all that has occurred in some Vietnam Veterans who were persecuted and shunned upon returning to the states. We cannot change the past, all we can do is try to rectify the wrongs that did happen. Thank you Bruce Post 1146 for what you did. Its like Tara said it was long overdue. HER message was long overdue. WELCOME HOME!!!!
Ken Ethier April 05, 2011 at 08:43 PM
The Vietnam Veteran denied membership was also tossed out of many other veteran org.s for extorting funds from those org's to pay his bills. His followers such as the desert hero has not had a job in 2 years and has extorted funds from the CVMA without reciepts...this should have funded the veterans organizations that the CVMA supports..these crooks are looking for a donation and will not provide a reciept..beware..domestic terrorism at it's best!
Marty Prehn April 14, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Tara for being a covert operative you and your camera guy got me when I was not looking. Glad it was you and not a sniper. Discussions are in the works with MLB to have each baseball stadium across America to have a WELCOME HOME VIETNAM VETERANS DAY with a ticket, a beer, an brat and a LOOOOONG over due THANK-YOU. Next week at Patriot Point on the deck of the carrier USS YORKTOWN a "special agent" will be requesting of Mr. OBAMA to SET our American POW's at Fort Leavenworth FREE. Please check out www.defendmichael.com and www.coreyclagett.com. Corey Clagett has a clemency hearing on June 2nd and he needs 1000's of support letters DEMANDING his release. For the past 4 years this HERO has been subjected to being in solitary confinement for 23 out of 24 hours a day. This young soldier is deserving of an unconditional release, a medasl and a parade to welcome this American HERO home. April 30th let "your boys" know that there will be a benefit concert/fundrasier for Corey and the other incarcerated soldiers that are at Fort Leavenworth and other army garrisons. It will be at the WILD HOG Bar and Grill. Radio host Rick Amato, President of the Free Our incarcerated soldiers Cari Johnson and Corey's mother Melanie Clagett will be there with Corey's attorney and Congressman Thaddeus McCottern will be there playing his bass guitar. It will be from 2p.m. until 2 a.m. WE NEED TO GET THESE GUYS SET FREE.
Marty Prehn April 14, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Sorry this will be just outside Dayton and arrangements have been made for lodging at a discount rate for any Bruce Post members. I believe the price for a room is $59.00 and the ticket for the event is less than $20.00. I plan on attending and speaking at this event as well.
1stCav May 16, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Haven't Vietnam veterans been through enough? Its a shame that these RI Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association posers shame and disrespeced Nam Vets. They denied a Vietnam vet membership, threw out Vietnam vets for asking why their brother was denied. Then they make up fabrications and lies to justify their actions. They have the gall to judge character when one of their reps was busted for Oxycoten and they have missing money that was supposed to go to Fisher House. Guess this is what the R.I. CVMA calls "Vets Helping Vets" - that being themselves.
Viet Nam Vet 1967/1968 May 16, 2011 at 02:16 PM
This is the guy they denied: http://ri4gis.blogspot.com Incredible!

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