Welcome Home Veterans - USS Kidd

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Welcome Home Veterans

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The USS KIDD Veterans Museum will celebrate “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” on Saturday, March 25, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the museum and on the Riverfront Levee Green. A ceremony honoring Vietnam veterans will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the Louisiana Memorial Plaza adjacent to the museum building. This event is free and open to the public. On March 30, 1973, all U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. These service men and women returned from war to a politically divided country and in 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to provide Vietnam veterans with the chance at a proper welcome home.

“We will be honoring those men and women who served our country during the Vietnam War,” said David Beard, Executive Director of the USS KIDD Veterans Museum.  “From the Ia Drang Valley, to the Tet Offensive, to the fall of Saigon, and to bases in the United States, these men and women gave up the best years of their lives to serve their country in a war that was not popular.  But we must always honor their sacrifice, no matter the thoughts about a particular conflict.”
There were 907 sons of Louisiana killed in action during the Vietnam War and their names are engraved here on the walls of the Louisiana Memorial Plaza. A significant number of inductees in the museum's Hall of Honor served in Vietnam, including one Medal of Honor recipient.  A 1/9 scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is on display courtesy of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 488.  VVA 488 also helped the museum acquire and restore an A-7E Corsair II jet aircraft in 1993-94. Corsairs first deployed in Vietnam and were retired shortly after Operation Desert Storm. Saturday's keynote speaker, Colonel Joey Strickland, USA (Ret.), saw combat during two tours of duty in Vietnam.  He served as a crew chief on a UH-1B Iroquois helicopter (nicknamed the “Huey”), ferrying troops into combat and clearing landing zones of enemy forces.  He worked his way up through enlisted ranks to earn a commission as an officer, retiring after over 28 years in the Army.  He now serves as Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the State of Louisiana and has previously served in that position under Governors Foster and Blanco, as well as under Governors Napolitano and Brewer in the State of Arizona. Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 488 will be selling hot dogs on the grounds after the ceremony, with drinks available for purchase in the museum gift shop.  Big River Express will be performing classics from the 1960s and early 1970s at the Riverfront Stage.  Several local veterans service and patriotic organizations will have informational tables set up throughout the museum. “It’s all about saying ‘Thank You’ and ‘Welcome Home,’” said Tim NesSmith, Educational Outreach Coordinator for the USS KIDD.  “To that end, several of our local veterans support organizations are coming down early that morning to tie yellow ribbons around all of the trees and light poles of the surrounding grounds.  It’s just one more way to say ‘We’re glad you’re home.’”
Museum entrance will be free to attendees from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  USS KIDD ship tours will be half price for veterans and their families and available at the regular admission price of $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for children ages 5-12 for all others.
For more information on this event, please call (225) 342-1942.

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