Town Honors Sacrifices of Vietnam Veterans in 152nd Memorial Day Service
Veterans salute their fallen brethren.
Bellingham’s 152nd Memorial Day ceremony was held on Sunday, May 21, with a focus on the 50th anniversary of U.S. troops withdrawing from Vietnam.
Keynote speaker Lt. Col. Jeromy Johnson, Commander of the 1st Battalion 25th Marine Corps Regiment at Fort Devins, asked attendees, as they reflected “on that significant chapter of this nation’s history…to pay homage to all those who served in the Vietnam War, both those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and those who returned. It’s also important to recognize the impact that that that war had on this nation…the Vietnam War was a difficult and controversial time. It was a war – it lasted over a decade, and it affected the resolve and determination of this nation, and it was fought some of the most courageous and selfless men this nation had to offer.” U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, he noted, faced unprecedented challenges of terrain, weather and guerilla tactics “which made every decision they made a life or death choice.” Lt. Col. Johnson noted that by the time the Vietnam War was over, 58,000 gave their lives, three-and-a-half times the population of Bellingham.
In addition to the keynote speaker, Jim Hastings, Chairman of the Memorial and Veterans Day Committee, gave an impassioned speech, recounting the pain he and his fellow Vietnam servicemen felt upon returning to a nation that refused to value their sacrifices, vowing to always support those who’ve returned from service in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Rep. Mike Soter gave an emotional and special posthumous recognition from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the family of the late VFW Post 7272 Cmdr. Thomas Lane before his name and those of Bellingham veterans who had passed on in the past year were read by Sam Cowell of all Bellingham.
Following are some moments from the day: