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Vietnam War Veterans Recognized by Leland VFW Post 12196

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Some of the 50 veterans recognized at this event

On March 29, Leland VFW Post 12196, in partnership with the U. S. Vietnam War Veterans Commemoration, held a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in Belville’s Riverwalk Park to honor Vietnam Veterans. National Vietnam War Veterans Day is a U.S. holiday observed annually on March 29.  The holiday honors all servicemen and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of the location served.  

VFW Post Commander, Gerald Decker, commented about the event, “This program makes no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period.  All were called to serve, none could self-determine where they were stationed, and all were seen in the same way by a country that could not separate the war from the warrior.  Each person who served during this period earned and rightly deserves our profound thanks.”

VFW Commander Gerald Decker addressing the crowd


A sizeable crowd, limited only by existing state-imposed COVID gathering restrictions, showed up on a beautiful day to watch 50 veterans receive the recognition and the “Welcome Home” they richly deserve. Belville Mayor Mike Allen and Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman provided opening remarks, followed by Guest Speaker Adm (Ret.) Ron Henderson.  As part of the program, each veteran received a pin recognizing their service and copies of Presidential Resolutions by Presidents Obama and Trump. Awardees also received a copy of a resolution signed by Governor Cooper and a letter of appreciation from the North Carolina General Assembly which was spearheaded by Senator Bill Rabon’s office.  U. S. Senator Tom Tillis was unable to attend but did send a staffer who read a letter from the Senator honoring the veterans.

Special recognition was also given to the surviving members of Vietnam veterans.  These included Ms. Monica Lovell, whose father Ronald Storz died in a Vietnamese prison camp known as Alcatraz.  Storz was known as one of the “Alcatraz 11” – senior-level POWs who the North Vietnamese had identified as resistance leaders and subjected to isolation and torture.  Also recognized were the mother and family members of John E. Jacobs, the only Leland-area veteran who died in combat shortly after arriving in Vietnam. 

Honorable mention was provided for Petty Officer 3rd Class Donald W. Watson who died April 11, 2020.  His wife is Martha E. Watson was not in attendance, but will receive the Department of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration Certificate of Honor.

Pin awarded to surviving family members of Vietnam Veterans
Pin awarded to Vietnam Veterans


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