Vietnam-era vets honored at town hall meeting
Everyone agrees that the appreciation now being shown to military veterans of the Vietnam War era is long overdue — and well-deserved.
More than 100 Erath County Vietnam veterans gathered Monday afternoon for a town hall meeting at Paradigm in Stephenville to be honored with a commemorative U.S. Vietnam War lapel pin and an official certificate of appreciation.
The pins and certificates are to recognize the service and sacrifices made by all U.S. military members who served in active duty during the Vietnam era.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams attended the event to shake hands with each of those honored. Texas Rep. J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville, who represents District 59, also attended.
The pins are part on an ongoing nationwide effort by the Vietnam War Commemoration to recognize all members of the U.S. military who were on active duty during that war.
“This is a huge honor for me to be part of this, to thank and honor the veterans,” said Williams, who has served the 25th Congressional District since 2013. “Many of them weren’t thanked when they came back.”
When he addressed the crowd of veterans, along with their friends and family, Williams said the pins are only a small token of the nation’s appreciation.
“You weren’t given a proper welcome home and you weren’t treated fairly,” Williams told them from the podium. “Thank you for your service.”
The colors were presented by the Tarleton State University ROTC Color Guard. The ceremony also included a prayer and The Pledge of Allegiance.
The first pin was presented to Stephenville Gold Star spouse Shiela Lewis, whose husband William Wallace was killed in Vietnam.
Roger Easter, adjutant of Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240, said, “It’s been an honor to be involved in facilitating this event. It’s long overdue. These gentlemen were not properly recognized when they came back from Vietnam.”
Easter said 139 local veterans were registered to receive pins prior. At press time Monday he was not certain how many were able to attend.