Vietnam War Veterans Honored
Fifty years after the conclusion of the Vietnam War, veterans who served under those very difficult conditions finally heard the words “Welcome Home” and “Thank You” from local and state officials. In a brief ceremony on July 17, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewiecz and Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Ronald Welch, joined First Selectwoman Beth Heller and state Senator James Maroney to address local veterans and present them with a citation.
“The country was divided,” said Susan Bysiewiecz of the time when they served. “Nevertheless, people stepped up.” Commissioner Welsh remembered those days, being a young boy when he and his neighborhood friends climbed trees. “We pretended to be you,” he said.
He said he joined the Army Rangers right out of High School. “We were trained hard to survive in combat,” he said. His son deployed three times in Afghanistan and Iraq. “We know what we were going through when we deployed,” he said. Yet, he encouraged the veterans not to isolate, not to suffer in silence, saying that assistance and advocacy are available through the state Department of Veterans Affairs.
First Selectwoman Beth Heller welcomed the opportunity to “honor the indomitable courage of our veterans.” She and the Town Hall employees had been instrumental in finding the names of this group of veterans.
State Sen. Maroney also encouraged them to take advantage of the services available to them. Last fall, a good friend of his tragically overdosed, a death that clearly shook him up. Looking over the room, he added, “And yet you continue to answer the call from our community.”
This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.