More than seventy veterans involved in the Vietnam War and an approximate of 250 community members came together in Martinsville City Hall on the Friday night of last week to participate in a Fall Foliage Festival first. The gathering program was to give overdue appreciations to the gentlemen and women who took part in the serving in the deadly and controversial conflict.
The occasion begun on a very good note with the 250th playing of Taps by Bugles across America and later, after the reading of the names of the fallen soldiers of Morgan County, which occurs on the square at 6:55 pm, on a weekly basis, each Friday.
The history of the United States’ involvement and happenings in Vietnam was recounted by the American Legion 230 Commander John McGee after the presentation of colors and an opening prayer that kicked off the occasion. The recount given by John McGee stretched from the US sending in advisers back in 1950 to where the United States withdrawal of its troops in the year 1975.
John stated that the stats and the numbers is not reliable to scoop truth, since they were never afforded the joyous and best homecoming welcomes of other wars. He requested for the Vietnam veterans present to be saluted.
Following the program of the event, McGee, John continued to state that he has happily surprised to see the turnout of the veterans at the event. It was a routine for the Vietnam Veterans to show up for the event through the back door and maybe interact just a little bit, then leave whenever the Legion would hold events for the veterans to interact with each other. This time round, it has been a healing time.
After John McGee’s speech, Rick Baum, who is the Morgan County Veterans Service Officer and a Marine Corps and Vietnam Veteran addressed the veterans concerning the services offered by his office along with his personal trails as much as soldiers after service are concerned. He said that is was a very special chance and privilege for him to serve the way he does. He also talked about his two sons who served in Iraq and whenever they come home, they are never the same.
Bringing out a hat, Baum added that the hat he was having was a belonging to his son Benjamin, who had died four years just after getting home from war. His son was 29 years of age and passed on due to cardiac issues. From this, Baum addressed to veterans, of how it is of importance to take good care of themselves, more specifically when they are out of the service. An illness like heart disease and diabetes are the ones mostly found among veterans.