Special salute to Vietnam War veterans

ALPENA -Although the Wings Over Alpena air show in August has been canceled, a special salute to veterans of the Vietnam War is still going to take place. This year’s air show was intended to be tribute for those who fought and died during the war, and even though the events for the air show are canceled, a special homecoming weekend event for the vets is scheduled for Sept. 26-27.

The weekend will kick off with a reception at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan for the veterans and sponsors of the event. There will be a parade on Sept. 27, which will conclude at Bay View Park where there will be a public celebration of the veterans. Wings Over Alpena Chairman Andy White said the tribute to the veterans during the air show was important and everyone believed another event needed to be held for them, even after the air show was canceled.

“In 2010 we honored those from World War II and in 2012 we honored those from the Korean War. We didn’t want the Vietnam vets to think they were being forgot about, or to feel left out,” White said. “We have teamed up with the museum to give them a little recognition and thank you for their sacrifices while fighting overseas.”

White said some of the details regarding the event are still in the planning stages, but the parade is a go. He said he hopes there will be groups and organizations, along with local veterans, that will march in the parade.

The museum and Wings Over Alpena also are working with other organizations to make the celebration the best it can be. White said he has been working with the Alpena Downtown Development Authority, the Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce during the planning.

“They have all been great and very supportive in helping us put this together,” White said. “They have been pointing us in the right direction and been very helpful through all of this.”

After the parade there will be an event at Bay View Park that will feature things for all ages to do, as well as food and drinks. White said the event will be free and he hopes the public comes out in large numbers to show their support for the veterans.

From May 10 through Oct. 5 a special Vietnam War display will be set up at the museum that will feature artifacts from the soldiers and the war. White said there also is going to be a special display for the weekend of the event.

“The Michigan Traveling Wall Memorial will be at the museum and it gives people a chance to go and look at that and then go inside and look at the collection of artifacts,” White said.

There will be a Redneck Rush 5K Mud Run June 6 at the Alpena County Fairgrounds and the money raised at the event will be used toward the veteran’s weekend.

For more information follow Wings Over Alpena on Facebook, or email White at andy@wingsoveralpena.com

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com