Twenty-five veterans from four branches of the service were honored on March 29 at the Freedom Worship Center in Granite City.
The event, sponsored by the Silver Creek Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which is based in Highland, was one of at least 1,200 similar events taking place that day in observance of National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The date commemorates the last date ground troops were on the ground in Vietnam.
“On behalf of the Silver Creek DAR Chapter, allow me to be the first to say, ‘Welcome home, Vietnam War veterans,” said Lola DeGroff of the Silver Creek DAR, which meets monthly at Latzer Library in Highland.
Pontoon Beach Mayor Mike Paganoread read a proclamation, declaring March 29 as "Thank a Vietnam Veteran Day" and recognizing the service of Vietnam War veterans.
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The program also included songs by Granite City resident Don Bradford and dulcimer music by Sharon Hargus and Phyllis Sway from Highland.
“Thank you for your service,” Silver Creek Chapter regent Cheryl White told each veteran as she presented certificates and commemoration pins.
The lapel pin given to the veterans features an eagle’s head, representing courage, honor and dedicated service; stripes, representing our nation’s colors; and six stars, representing the allies who served, sacrificed and fought alongside one another. The reverse states: "A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You,” along with the commemoration’s name.
Those recognized were:
▪ United States Army veterans: Charles R. Harrison, Michael Jahns, Michael C. Kovarik, Barry Lloyd, Dan Myers, Troy E. Powell, Kenneth Rowen, Nick Ryan, Eugene Schlattweiler, Michael Schlemer, Douglas Smith, Larry Stockton, John Vasques and John Louis Watson.
▪ United States Navy veterans: Philip Bailey, Donald Cook, Kenneth Felty, Al Hennrich, Richard H. Holbert, Clarence Lee and Burt Hawes.
▪ United States Marine Corps veterans: Dennis Linkeman and Richard John Sasek.
▪ United States Air Force veterans: James A. DeGroff Jr. and Larry Miller.
The Silver Creek DAR Chapter is a commemorative partner with the Department of Defense to honor the nation’s Vietnam War veterans. By presidential proclamation issued on May 25, 2012, the commemoration recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and runs through Veterans Day 2025.