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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.”

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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