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Local VFW post to host celebration for Vietnam Vets

March 28, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

VFW Post 4174 will host a Welcome Home Vietnam Vets celebration on Saturday, March 31, beginning at noon. Vietnam Veterans, friends, families, veteran service organizations, and members of the community are invited to come out and join in the celebration.

"This is the first year for this event. In 2017, the state of Florida passed a law to designate a day to remember the men and women who served in Vietnam," said Shannon Rousey, senior vice commander.

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet issued a resolution recognizing March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

The resolution was created as way to recognize those who served in the armed forces and defended our country. Scott was quoted as saying that "Florida is committed to being the most military and veteran friendly state in the nation."

According to Rousey, this is the first year that their post has held the celebration, which makes it an important day for those involved.

"We didn't feel like they got the treatment they deserved when they came back. They were just trying to serve their country," Rousey said.

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Rousey, who served in Desert Storm, assumed the role of senior vice commander a year ago.

According to event chair Mike Sloan, this ceremony is meant to give these men and women the welcome home that they should have received more than 40 years ago.

Sloan served in the Navy's Operation Ernest Will during the Iran/Iraq War.

"We are doing this out of respect for our brothers and sisters who never got a proper homecoming. It's so important that they be recognized for what they did for this country," said Sloan.

The ceremony will feature several keynote speakers; a parade lined by motorcycles providing a salute and American flags following a color guard presented by local JROTC. There will also be a playing of Taps and the National Anthem.

"Our local Boys and Girl Scouts will also be involved with the day's events," said Sloan.

Letters from local government officials including Senator Bill Nelson will be read during the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, there will be a reenactment of the Last Patrol in Vietnam and a reception where attendees can enjoy $5, barbeque plates with beans and other sides, plus refreshments.

"We will be smoking a whole pig, which was donated by Post 38, American Legion's Commander, Kevin Boyd. Their post stays very active in veteran's affairs," said Sloan.

Everyone in the community is welcomed to attend.

"This is a big deal for us. We want to make this best experience we can for these men and women. We encourage people to bring their children as well," said Sloan.

The event will take place at the VFW Post 4174 located at 25 Homestead Rd S, Lehigh Acres. Additional parking spaces can be found inside the church parking lot.

For more information, contact the VFW Post at 239-369-5100 or the event's chair, Mike Sloan at 239-246-4196.



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