As many Ohioans will celebrated the Easter holiday last weekend, let us also give thanks to our veterans on Saturday, Ohio’s first Vietnam Veterans Day. The Canton Repository has more below:
Tom Burke returned home from military service in the Vietnam War and was scorned and even spit upon by war protesters.
More than 40 years later, he is proudly taking part in Ohio’s first observance of the state’s Vietnam Veterans Day, which he and other veterans sought for years.
“Many Vietnam veterans have waited a long time for something that validates their service,” said Burke, who has vivid memories of protesters spitting on his uniform after he returned home.
“Back then, the war and the warriors got blurred, and unfortunately the warrior became the war for some.”
But Burke thinks the country has learned the difference. He joined other veterans in Columbus on Tuesday to open the display of a traveling replica of the Vietnam War Memorial wall at the Ohio History Center. The ceremony began four days of commemorative events.
The week shouldn’t just be somber but “also joyful for those who came home,” Retired Air Force Col. Tom Moe, director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, said in a telephone interview Tuesday, recounting what he told veterans and others at the event.
He also told the standing-room-only crowd, “If you haven’t heard it before, thank you.”
The actual date of Vietnam Veterans Day is March 30, but commemorative events were being held early to avoid conflicting with Easter weekend.