Maui News

50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration on Maui

October 27, 2017, 11:56 AM HST
* Updated October 27, 12:04 PM
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Maui County Vietnam Veterans and community members who support them will get a chance to say and hear “Thank you for your service,” at a Welcome Home dinner on Veterans Day.  The event is part of the 50th anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration.

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“Fifty years later, it still matters,” said Michelle Almeida, a co-chair of the dinner and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “It’s an opportunity for the community and the veterans to come together and say welcome home. … Rather than acceptance and appreciation and respect, Vietnam Veterans came back to a torn country. They were not welcomed home.”

The Maui Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home dinner will be held at the Kahili Golf Course on Nov. 11, 2017 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. It’s free for US military Vietnam Veterans and a guest. Community members pay $80.

Vietnam Veterans will receive a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War commemorative pin during a ceremony at the dinner. All attendees will receive the 50th Anniversary Commemorative book. Guests will enjoy a prime rib dinner, live entertainment, and can wrap up the evening with dancing.

Registration is required. Call the Maui Vet Center at (808) 242-8557 or register online. All US armed forces veterans who served on active duty from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 5, 1975, regardless of location are invited.

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For Kathleen Hass, who served as an intensive care nurse during the war, the dinner is a chance for Vietnam Veterans to finally be recognized for their service.  “It was hard for everyone to come back,” Hass said. “I’m glad they’re doing this. It’s a little late, but it shows that the veterans are appreciated and special and people are making an effort to welcome them back.”

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The event is sponsored by the County of Maui, AARP Hawaiʻi, the Maui County Veterans Council, Vietnam Veterans of Maui County and Nā Koa Kahiko Wahine.

A Vietnam War Commemorative Partner Program lapel pin is given to Vietnam Veterans on behalf of the nation thanking them for their service and sacrifice. Several Vietnam veterans of the 6994th Security Squadron and 361st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron which served in Vietnam received their pins at the American Legion post 276 May 11, 2016 Severn, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

The lapel pin shown here is for Vietnam War veterans, designed for the Congressional Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. On the back of the pin are the words “A grateful nation thanks and honors you.” The pin is available to those who served on active duty in the armed forces from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/released)

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