Farmington, Shiprock events to recognize National Vietnam War Veterans Day
FARMINGTON — Commending and supporting veterans of the Vietnam era is at the center of events to observe National Vietnam War Veterans Day in Farmington and in Shiprock.
March 29 was designated as such through the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act that President Donald Trump signed into law in 2017.
"It was chosen to be observed in perpetuity as March 29, 1973 was the day United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished and also the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam," the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration website states.
The Desert Gold Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will host the ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. on March 29 at Vietnam Veterans Park, 3801 N. Butler Ave., in Farmington.
"We honor and support all of our veterans but the Vietnam veterans, it's something near and dear to my heart," said Diane Halvorson, the chapter's honorary state regent.
She explained that the men and women who returned from the war were not properly welcomed home, and many continue to deal with the aftereffects of combat.
The DAR has helped other organizations in New Mexico with events to recognize Vietnam veterans, but this is the first time they are observing National Vietnam War Veterans Day in Farmington.
The program includes Vietnam veterans Mike Padilla and Char Richards laying a wreath at the granite wall that holds the names of Four Corners residents who died during the war.
"It's really nice, especially laying of the wreath, to remember those that we lost. It is very touching for the Vietnam veterans to do that," Halvorson said.
Several events planned in Shiprock April 2
In Shiprock, the recognition on April 2 will cumulate in a parade, program, honor walk, horse trail ride and motorcycle honor rides.
Vern R. Lee, who is helping coordinate the event, said while the occasion recognizes Vietnam veterans, it also provides space for them to heal.
"We feel that it is an avenue, a vehicle to reach them. It's part of the healing of them because the veterans, they talk to each other when they gather," said Lee, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam.
Comradery is important to veterans, he explained.
The event, led by the Shiprock Chapter Veterans Organization, returns after a two-year break due to the pandemic.
The parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Shiprock Chapter house. The parade route is U.S. Highway 64 then U.S. Highway 491 to a large open area located across the highway from the Shiprock Youth Complex. This area is where the program will take place from 10 a.m. to noon.
The horse trail ride starts at 7:30 a.m. at the junction of U.S. Highway 491 and Navajo Route 13. Riders will travel north along the highway 491 to the program area in Shiprock.
For more information about the horse trail ride, contact Elouise Brown at 505-592-1453.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e