American Legion to retire flags, honor Vietnam vets

MADISON – Local American Legion members have planned two separate events on March 30.

Legionnaires will conduct the eighth annual Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration at the Huntsville/Madison County Veterans Memorial at 200 Monroe St. NW in Huntsville. Donuts and coffee will be available at 9:30 a.m.

The program and awards presentation will begin at 11 a.m. Hotdogs and beverages will be available.

“On March 29, 2012, President Barack Obama originally proclaimed March 29, 2012, as Vietnam Veterans Day. The proclamation called ‘upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities that commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War,'” according to Post 229 Commander Larry Vannoy of Madison American Legion.

“Five years later on March 28, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed into law Bill S. 305, the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, which officially recognized March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day,” Vannoy said. “It is intended specifically to recognize and honor the service and sacrifice all veterans of the Vietnam War.”

This year’s keynote speaker for the National Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony will be Captain Gary Michael ‘Mike’ Rose, Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam veteran. In case of inclement weather, organizers will move the event to Huntsville High School Auditorium at 2304 Watkins Street.

In another event, Madison American Legion, Post 229 plans a formal retirement ceremony for flags on March 30 at 4 p.m. Participants will gather at the City of Madison Wall of Heroes in Captain Jesse Ollie Wikle Jr. Veterans Memorial Park at the intersection of Church and Front streets in downtown Madison.

“The ceremony will be conducted jointly by Knights of Columbus and American Legion Posts 229 and 237, Madison Community Band, Bob Jones High School JROTC and Boy Scout Troop 201,” Vannoy said.

“Unserviceable American flags will be disposed of in a formal ceremony led by the Knights of Columbus that includes an honor guard rifle salute and patriotic tunes played by Madison Community Band,” Vannoy said. “Flags that are torn, ripped, discolored and faded and considered no longer serviceable will be retired.”

Businesses, organizations or citizens who have old, unserviceable flags are encouraged to contact American Legion, Post 229 or take the flags to Madison City Hall, 100 Hughes Road or Madison Senior Center, 1282 Hughes Road.

Madison American Legion, Post 229 meets monthly on the second Thursday at 7 p.m. at Lunar Lodge, 704 Eastview Drive in Madison.

For more information about the flag retirement or Post 229, call 256-258-8534, visit americanlegionpost229.org or Facebook/American Legion Post 229.

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