National Vietnam Veterans Day - March 29, 2018
Yesterday, Thursday, March 29, 2018, was National Vietnam Veteran’s Day. It was a good day for The Captain and me. It started with a trip to North Island Navy Base Uniform Shop. The people at the shop were very helpful to us. The Captain wanted a brand new Navy Dinner Dress Uniform complete with everything. He tried on his new uniform and the seamstress marked the appropriate alterations and we will pick up the completed uniform on April 14th. This included the dress shirt, cummerbund, bowtie and the Captain ranking stripes and insignia. His older uniform was no longer fitting properly and he wanted to look his best for the military ball we are attending in April saluting the Vietnam War Veterans. He will definitely be my hero in uniform that evening.
Next we traveled over to Spreckels Park in Coronado to get on the Navy bus provided for our group for the day long tour. Finally, another wife showed up so I was not the only woman going on the tour. It was interesting to listen to these older men, all Vietnam Veterans, talking to each other and telling their stories. There was so much military experience and stories to be told on that bus. Some of these fellows knew each other and some were strangers but they all had something in common in their military service, they had been in Vietnam during the war. We know one friend on the bus who is 90 years old and others who were well into their 80’s. The fellows on this bus were going to be treated like kings on this tour and they deserved to be.
The bus took us back on base at North Island to the galley for lunch. The food wasn’t bad and the reception was great! You could watch young enlisted men eating lunch among the Vietnam Veterans, conversing together and having a grand time talking with each other.
Back on the bus for a tour of North Island where the fighter planes are repaired and kept in shape and some of the historical buildings still in use. Next, the bus took us down The Strand to the new Seal Training Complex under construction. Many building are going up with completion in the near future. All to keep America safe!
The bus now headed to the Vietnam Memorial Wall at the Naval Amphibious Base on The Strand. When we got off the bus, there was a large group of both men and women active duty Navy enlisted and Officers lining both sides of the walkway where we would walk through. They shook hands with each Vietnam Veteran and thanked them for their service. You could just see the smiles and gratitude displayed on these veterans faces. It was very emotional to watch. I might add that all during the trip yesterday there were two Navy personnel photographers following along taking pictures of everyone at all the stops.
There was a brief thank you from City Councilman, Bill Sandke and another gentleman who is the docent for this memorial and keeps it up and in good shape. They gave each of the Vietnam Veterans a special Vietnam Veteran Lapel pin and it was pinned on each veteran by one of the Officers or enlisted military that were present. If you were up to boarding one of the river boats used in Vietnam there were part of the memorial, you were encouraged to go on board to see for yourself what was represented.
Back on the bus for the short trip back to Spreckels Park, where we said our thank you to the tour director and we departed back to home at Camp Pendleton after a long but very enjoyable day.
Many more tributes to Vietnam Veterans are being planned for these aging men who were not giving their proper due upon returning from this war. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.