Welcome Home Vietnam Vets Celebration is Saturday

Thursday, March 29, 2018
The bronze statue of a World War II soldier, appropriately titled “Honor,” stands at the center of Rector's Veterans Memorial Park as it has since June of 2011. The city will continue the tradition of honoring those who have served Saturday with the first-ever Vietnam Veteran's Welcome Home celebration.
TD photo/Tim Blair

Months of planning will come to fruition Saturday, March 31, as Rector will join communities across the nation in giving Vietnam veterans the welcome home they have long deserved. The activities will be going on throughout much of the afternoon and evening, and will include a special ceremony, parade and concert.

The event has been planned in conjunction with National Vietnam War Veterans Day, which is marked on March 29. The date has actually been observed since March 29, 1973—the date American ground and support troops pulled out of South Vietnam. In 2012 it was observed by proclamation of President Barack Obama, marking the 50th anniversary. Last year, President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017. This act officially recognized March 29, as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The Act also includes the day among those on which the U.S. flag should be displayed.

Joining-in this year is the city of Rector, as they'll mark the observance on Saturday. With high hopes of offering recognition and appreciation, the local welcome home committee is asking everyone to pull out red, white and blue clothing and hats for the occasion. As a show of support, citizens are also make signs of welcome, and wave flags in support of the veterans who will march and ride in the parade.

“Everyone has a job to do-and the job on Saturday is to line the parade route, filling it deep on both sides of the street, with shouts of welcome home and chants of U-S-A, U-S-A,” a spokesperson noted. “Don’t be left out of this tribute to the men and women who served our country during the Vietnam War era.”

The Rector event will begin at 2 p.m. with a parade down Main Street. Although Vietnam vets are the focus of the event, all veterans are welcome to particpate. Afterward, the veterans and their families will enjoy leisure time at Rector Memorial Park as they're invited to enjoy what organizers hope will be a beautiful spring day.

The First United Methodist Church, located at Main and 3rd Streets, will be hosting a fish fry for the veterans and the public. The event has been organized by Gregg Sain and Ron Kemp, and includes special pricing is available for vets.

Saturday evening will offer the highlight of the day as Jimmy Fortune, of the Statler Brothers, will perform a concert in honor of Vietnam Veterans beginning at 7 p.m. at the Rector Community Center. Tickets are $20 each and may be purchased at the door or at the Rector Water Department office in city hall.

“All Vietnam Era Veterans are encouraged to be a part of the celebration,” the spokesperson added. “As has been pointed out in the past, for every man who was in-country, on the front lines, eight more men and women were assigned to other areas to keep the United States safe. All branches of service will be honored.”

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