By Portia Williams
SOUTH SHORE, Ky.– Vietnam veterans, state legislators and special guests will be in attendance Monday, Aug. 17, at 5 p.m., for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge highway marker in Greenup County.
State Rep. Tanya Pullin said the event is an opportunity to extend gratitude to Vietnam Veterans.
“The reason that we are doing this now, is that this is the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War,” Pullin said. “It is probably hard to pinpoint an exact start date, but the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs decided that this year is when we will commemorate the beginning of the Vietnam War, and so that makes it the appropriate time to say to all Vietnam Veterans, welcome home and thank you for your service.”
She said it is all about expressing appreciation to Vietnam Veterans.
“That is what we really intend to do with this is to express appreciation for their service to their country, and all Vietnam Veterans are invited to attend, along with their families as well,” she said. “The public is invited to attend as well, but particularly Vietnam Veterans.”
Vietnam Veterans of America South Shore, Ky., chapter is extremely active, according to Pullin.
“We have a very active Vietnam Veterans of America, it is called the VVA chapter in South Shore,” she said. “It is one of the most active chapters in Kentucky, and they picked out this particular bridge that they would like to have that will serve as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge.
She said KET TV will be present to begin footage for a future documentary.
“KET will be sending a film crew, because they are working on a documentary for Vietnam Veterans, so the film crew will be there as a part of the even,” she said. “They have been interviewing some Vietnam Veterans for the documentary.”
The keynote speaker for the dedication event will be Col. Vance Huston.
“Colonel Vance himself is a Vietnam Veteran, and was the pilot for Marine 1, for John F. Kennedy, among his many other duties while he was in the Marine Corps,” she said. “We want to make this really nice for them, because maybe they didn’t get the expressions of appreciation that should have gotten when they came home, and so we are going to take this opportunity to say, ‘Welcome home, and thank you for your service.’“
During the 2015 General Assembly, state legislators passed a bill designating the bridge on US 23 over Tygarts Creek at South Shore as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge, directing the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to install appropriate signs. Veterans, their families, military leaders, legislators and others will gather at 5 p.m. Monday at Rotary Park in South Shore to unveil and dedicate the memorial signs.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929.