Cape Cod Ceremonies to Honor Vietnam War Veterans

Retired Navy Capt. Walt Urban of Medford, N.J., uses a pencil to outline on paper name of a friend who died in the Vietnam War, off the Moving Wall in Medford, N.J., on Wednesday, June 14, 2006. The Moving Wall is a half-size version of Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and has been touring the country for almost 20 years. (AP Photo/Tim Larsen)

HYANNIS – Vietnam War veterans will be honored and recognized Thursday at two events on Cape Cod.

At the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, a ceremony and pinning will take place at 9 a.m.

Cemetery Executive Director John Spruyt will be the keynote speaker.

Later in the day, the Cape Cod Vet Center will host an event at the Barnstable Senior Center in Hyannis at 1:30 p.m.

The ceremony will include a color guard, POW/MIA chair and a pinning of veterans who have not received them in the past.

By Presidential Proclamation in 2012, March 29th is Vietnam Veterans Day. The date commemorates when the last American troops left Vietnam on March 29, 1973.

Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Tony Knowlton said Vietnam veterans continue to have lingering mental and physical effects, including problems associated with Agent Orange.

The chemical was used during the war to defoliate forests to better expose the enemy.

Since their return, many vets has suffered from a myriad of medical problems associated with being exposed to it.

The Vet Center continually works with the vets to cope with their issues and lead productive lives.

“We want to make sure that we as a community and as a service provide that very same welcoming to those servicemen and women who returned from their service in Vietnam,” Knowlton said.

“Dealing with those traumatic experiences, we tend to, as combat servicemen and woman tend to pack those things in the back of our minds and try to deal with them from within. But sooner or later, our mind is such a powerful tool, they tend to revisit it,” said Knowlton.

He said recognizing the Vietnam soldiers is made even more important because of the disrespectful way many of them were treated when they returned home.

The public is invited to both events in Bourne and Hyannis.

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