Vietnam recognition planned

Published 10:10 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

Two local veterans’ organizations will sponsor a recognition of Vietnam veterans this Tuesday.

At the event, set for 7 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 329 W. Constance Road, American Legion Post 57 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2582 will hand out commemorative pins to their members who served in Vietnam.

“It’s a way we can recognize our Vietnam vets and welcome them home,” said Mike Chism, commander of VFW Post 2582, who is a Vietnam veteran himself. He referred to the fact that the war’s unpopularity caused Vietnam veterans to get a less-than-warm reception from many when they returned home.

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“We’re taking 40 years to get our welcome home from the war, from the way we were received back when the war ended,” he said. “Whenever I see a Vietnam veteran with a hat or jacket or patch, the first thing we say to each other is, ‘Welcome home.’”

“We have guys who are members of both,” said Joe Garlitz, commander of the American Legion Post 57. “We have about 40 members that are Vietnam vets. The VFW has about 10.”

Garlitz and Chism are two of the men who are members of both organizations. They started talking about how they could team up and recognize veterans and learned of the opportunity to present the commemorative pins, which were designed in honor of the 50th anniversary of the war.

Those who do not attend on a regular basis should call Garlitz at 582-5668 or Chism at 438-8300 by Friday to RSVP for dinner. There is a social time at 6 p.m. before the meeting.