WARSAW — Veterans of the war in Vietnam are being honored in Warsaw this weekend as the traveling memorial wall of that war arrived in town Thursday and a roll call for Vietnam veterans on Friday night during Warsaw’s monthly First Friday celebration June 1.
Noted Vietnam veteran Jerry Hogan spoke to the crowd, which jammed up the downtown area as current military as well as countless former military in uniform attended.
“If you’d like to hear their stories, just ask,” said Hogan. “There are plenty of them here. I’m not sure what they’ll be willing to share, but I’m sure they’ll at least say thank you and share something.
Before the speakers and the roll call, the colors were presented by the Indiana National Guard Reserve and the national anthem was sung by SSgt. Allie Gurtner of the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne. During her performance, the crowd cheered for a flyover of T-34 fighter planes from the Hooligan Flight Team, which flew over the courthouse and the traveling memorial wall in a missing man formation.
Music was also provided by the Lakes Area Community Band.
Hogan reminded the crowd of the core reason for the four-day event.
“We’re here to share and thank those who gave of themselves while honoring the memory of those who gave all to ensure the privilege of liberty that we enjoy today,” Hogan said.
“We know as long as there is a country worth fighting for, we will have scared and brave men and women who will step up and take the fight to the enemy as we did.”
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said the tribute to Vietnam’s veterans came on the heels of ceremonies that paid tribute to veterans of the wars fought previously.
“In 2014, we stood on this same spot and honored our World War II veterans on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion and we continue to honor them tonight,” said Thallemer.
“In 2016, we honored our Korean Veterans on this very spot and we continue to honor them tonight. But tonight, Vietnam veterans, it’s your night.”