Delaware’s Vietnam Veterans were honored Saturday morning at the 40th annual celebration of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in downtown Wilmington.
About 100 people attended, many sporting formal military uniforms and others wearing military-themed jackets.
A banner on the main stage displayed the message: “Never again will one generation of Veterans abandon another.”
The event, hosted by Delaware Chapter 83 Vietnam Veterans of America included musical performances, the presentation of Colors, the national anthem and a speech by Heather French Henry, a Kentucky native, daughter of a disabled Veteran and Miss America 2000.
“Memorials like this matter,” she said. “They matter to those of us who are children of veterans. They matter to all you Veterans. And they matter to future generations who will become Veterans.”
French Henry repeatedly noted that memorials and ceremonies honoring Veterans combine both the grief and the healing process.
The silver lining of the tragic terrorist attacks on 9/11, she said, was that everyone in America and politicians on both sides of the aisle realized the importance of the nation’s military and have since allocated an abundance of resources to help struggling Veterans, something former generations did not benefit from.
“Vietnam vets came home to a country that was divided that treated us like crap, that’s the truth,” said Terry Baker, one of the officers at the Vietnam Veterans of America – Delaware Division.
“God needed men and women with broad shoulders to show the world to never treat your warriors like this again,” he said.
Many state legislators were also in attendance.
Both Baker and French Henry shared personal stories and anecdotes about how Vietnam vets often struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, substance abuse, depression and addiction.
“Ceremonies like today help rebuild the fabric of our nation,” French Henry said. “These are the stitches that keep the patchwork together…we have this important duty as citizens of the greatest country on the globe, the country that fights for democracy and freedom, even when our citizens don’t appreciate it.”
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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