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Vietnam-era veterans recognized at Thank You event

On Saturday, March 18th at the Bridges in Beresford, Lincoln and Union County Veterans Service Officer Susan Irons presented Presidential Certificates and lapel pins to area veterans who served on active duty from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. The awards were presented on behalf the United States Department of Defense’s Vietnam War Commemoration. The program was established to recognize, thank and honor United States military veterans who served during the Vietnam War. As the Lincoln and Union County Veterans Service Officer, Irons said, “I felt it was important that our counties become a Commemorative Partner with this program so that we could recognize our local veterans.”

During Saturday’s Thank You event veterans from Union and Lincoln Counties who served on active duty from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 were recognized. Family members of veterans were also invited to attend.

The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act empowers the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program on behalf of the nation that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. This law also authorizes the Secretary to coordinate, support and facilitate federal, state and local government commemorative programs and activities. By Presidential proclamation on May 25, 2012, the Commemoration extends from Memorial Day 2012 through Veterans Day 2025. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nine million Americans served on active duty in the US Armed Forces during the period of the Vietnam War; approximately seven million are living today.

The lapel pins that veterans received are meaningful and have the following symbols on them:

Eagle: The eagle represents courage, honor, and dedicated service to our nation. As one of the most recognizable and notable American symbols, it is emblazoned with distinction on numerous military insignia.

Blue Circle: The color blue matches the canton of the American flag and signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Laurel Wreath: A time-honored symbol representing victory, integrity, and strength.

Stripes: The stripes behind the eagle represent the American flag.

Stars: The six stars represent the six allies who served, sacrificed, and fought alongside one another: Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and the United States.

Message: “A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You” is embossed on the back, closest to the heart of the wearer. Also, the official name of the Commemoration is included to remind each veteran that this is a national initiative, and this lapel pin is the nation’s lasting memento of thanks.

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