Vietnam War commemoration focuses on honoring homeless


Veterans will be pinned during the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.

Courtesy of Cape Canaveral National Cemetery

A Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration will be held Saturday, March 30 at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.

The event, part of the nationwide tribute, will honor Vietnam War veterans, including those held as prisoners of war (POW) and missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice to the United States.

This year’s focus is on struggling homeless Vietnam veterans. The theme is “Grateful Nation: from Sea to Shining Sea.”

Dr. Hal Kushner, a flight surgeon during the Vietnam War and a POW for five and a half years, will be the guest speaker. Kushner is featured in the PBS documentary “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns.

“Our event committee is diligently working with local homeless organizations to invite our homeless and less-fortunate veterans,” said Marylou Wade, the event chair, “so they can receive their deserved recognition and official Vietnam 50th lapel pin.”

The Vietnam veteran lapel pin will be presented to all Vietnam and Vietnam era veterans following the formal ceremony. Don Murphy, the cemetery director, along with the keynote speaker, will pin Vietnam veterans.

“The Vietnam 50th Anniversary lapel pin, a small token, yet deep in heart and symbolism, displays to all veterans that they, and their service to our country, is not forgotten,” Wade said.

The program will include a reading of names of Vietnam burials since March 2018.

Dennis Vannorsdall, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant who is manager of Brevard County Veterans Services, will be the master of ceremonies.

Featured will be soloist Suzy Cunningham, the strategy and integration manager at Kennedy Space Center; Chaplain Craig “Doc” Glynn, a Vietnam Green Beret medic; and the Terrier Sound Titusville High School ensemble.

There will be Vietnam, POW, MIA, and Gold Star wreath presentations, along with formal military honors by a U.S. Army unit from Fort Stewart .

“We mean not to parade these veterans, but to respectfully honor them and their service to our country,” Wade said. “Some of our less-fortunate veterans may not even know they are eligible for burial in a national cemetery.”

Families of veterans are encouraged to attend.

The event begins at 10 a.m. at the Flag Assembly Area on the grounds of CCNC at 5525 N. Highway U.S. 1 in Mims.

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