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National Vietnam War Veterans Day Celebration - 2022

On Tuesday, March 29th, the Fresno/Clovis community participated in a nationwide celebration to recognize and thank Vietnam Veterans during the National Vietnam War Veterans Day event. Clovis Veterans Memorial District is a Vietnam War Commemoration partner and hosted the event at the Rex Phebus Memorial Building in Clovis.

The day began with a ceremony in the Memorial auditorium where full military customs and courtesies were on display. The colors were posted by American Legion Post 4, and our National Anthem was performed by singer Valerie Salcedo, accompanied by the AUSA Sounds of Freedom Band.

Clovis Veterans Memorial District CEO Lorenzo Rios joined the band with an impassioned voice-over adaptation of General Douglas MacArthur’s famed Duty, Honor, Country speech. As patriotism flourished, the AUSA Sounds of Freedom Band further captivated the audience with renditions of Semper Fidelis, America The Beautiful, and Lee Greenwood's timeless classic God Bless The U.S.A.

The notes of the musical ensemble faded into silence as Medal of Honor recipient Master Sergeant Leroy A. Petry, the keynote speaker, took the stage. He spoke of his admiration of the Vietnam War Veterans and recognized their plight. His presentation included personal testimony of his continued service, visiting wounded Veterans, and offering help wherever he can. His presentation concluded by playing a recorded song written by a friend. The emotional, military-themed lyrics resonated with the attendees.

The ceremony then focused on recognizing the Veterans of the Vietnam War period. As their names and branch of service were announced, 92 Veterans stood to be honored with a commemorative lapel pin and certificate. The applause was not withheld, it was constant!

The smiles on their faces moved onlookers to tears. Though a “Welcome home” may have been 50+ years overdue, it certainly was not overlooked.

Special thanks to the Central Valley Blue Star Moms for their assistance in presenting the commemorative pins and certificates on behalf of a grateful nation.

To complete our program, Valerie Salcedo and the AUSA Sounds of Freedom Band took the stage once more to perform God Bless America. The crowd, in its entirety, bellowed with enthusiasm, pride, and tradition.

Fellowship spilled over into the Independence room, where a large map depicted the many bases and camps throughout Vietnam. Veterans gathered around the map, pointing and sharing stories of their time in-country. Many signed their names as an attestation to their service record.

Veterans, their families, and community members exiting the building were immersed in a photo exhibit. On display were timeline-related images and then-and-now pictures of local Vietnam Veterans. Lastly, a car gathering lined 4th Street and Veterans Parkway. Lunch was provided by the VA, Clovis Kiwanis, American Legion Post 147, and Central Valley Veterans.

Over 9 million Americans served from November 1, 1955, and May 15, 1975. Vietnam represents the largest number of Veterans Clovis contributed to our nation's armed conflicts. Over 2,000 of them still reside in Clovis. 58,286 Gold Star Heroes lost their lives in Vietnam; seven of them hail from Clovis.

Nearly 22,000 ceremonies have been hosted by dedicated commemorative partners like the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. As a result, more than 3.2 million Vietnam veterans, and their families have been publicly thanked by friends, neighbors, and community leaders.

Join us next year on March 29th as we join the nation and thank a Vietnam Veteran.


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