Some 50 years after of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords and the end of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War, the Air & Space Forces Association’s Seidel Chapter commemorated the anniversary March 21 with other Dallas-area veterans groups at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.
About 450 Vietnam-era veterans and family members joined in, and veterans were individually presented with commemorative Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins. Several spouses of deceased veterans received the Surviving Spouse pin.
Rep. Keith Self (R-Texas) offered remarks. Recently elected to the seat held for 29 years by the late Rep. Sam Johnson, a retired colonel and former prisoner of war, Self declared: “It is our obligation to remember the courage of those at Hue and Khe Sanh, at Tan Son Nhut and Saigon, from Hamburger Hill to the B-52 missions in Operation Linebacker and the Wild Weasel anti-SAM missions. Future generations deserve to know that those we honor today won every major battle they fought.”
Prisoner of War Pins and certificates were presented to retired Cols. Ken Cordier and Elmo Baker, who both spent six years as POWs and earned Silver Stars for bravery.
Other speakers included retired Capt. Allen Clark, who lost both legs in Vietnam and earned the Silver Star, and Natan Ton-that, who emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 11 and later served in the Peace Corps and the U.S. Army. Captain Clark recalled the combat medics who saved his life after he was wounded.
“You veterans here in this museum today, who served your country, are the nobility of the United States,” Ton-that said. “There are hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese Americans who are here in America because of you. You fought for us and came back to a country that did not appreciate your service. Today you should be proud that you served a noble cause.”
Featured during the ceremony were 18 portraits of Vietnam veterans from Texas. Painted by artist, author, and Seidel Chapter member Colin Kimball, the portraits will remain on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum as a reminder of the contributions of the brave men and women who served in the Vietnam War.