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National Vietnam War Veterans Day celebrated with an event in Solvang

SOLVANG, Calif. - The National Vietnam War Veterans Day has been celebrated in Solvang in the Veteran's Memorial Building.

The event took place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It is hosted by the Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach and the Cloverlane Foundation.

The event was originally scheduled for the Avenue of the Flags in Buellton but moved due to weather to the the Solvang Veterans Memorial Building at 1745 Mission Drive across from Mission Santa Ines.

This was the National Vietnam War Veterans Day and these vets don't usually gather like this,  making the event and speeches even more special.

The event was open to the public.   Lunch was provided.

Speakers showed their support for the area veterans, and those in attendance from the Vietnam War were give special lapel pins. The wives of Vietnam War veterans were also honored.

Buellton Mayor Dave King was among the speakers who said, those who fought and served often "gave their life, limb and mental health" for our country. King was a war veteran who served on the USS Midway.   

Buellton Mayor and Navy Veteran on the USS Midway Dave King, said "some gave their lives, some gave the limbs, some gave their mental health, but all of us know without a strong military we have a weak nation."
Those attending knew of their sacrifices during the Vietnam War and the rest of the room was reminded of that time period.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann said, "they left their families,  their homes and their plans for their lives not for recognition or fame or even the honor we bestow on them today.   They fought to protect our country and  our democratic way of life."

Several groups set up information tables for the vets about health, housing and other services.   For some it was a fresh opportunity to see what's available for them.

Russ Hobbs, and Army veteran said, "I am appreciative that these events encourage the rest of the the public to recognize now those that have gone before us sacrificed for the rest of us, for everyone else"

 91 year old, Korean Veteran Gerald Chase is at the Buellton Veterans resource site regularly.   "We've got the momentum and it is a wonderful community, good people."

Hobbs said, "it means a lot to see the folks that are helping us help each other and help the others that need it with resources and knowledge of what's out there and available."
 Some of the groups received $1000. grants from the Santa Barbara county Veterans Foundation for their continued efforts to help vets.

Two Santa Ynez students who excelled in swimming were give $2000. each to help them after graduation when they go off to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Hartmann acknowledged the veterans and also said civilians "can do our part to be involved by voting and volunteering."

The event took place for the first time in 2022 on a very small scale. It was put together in about two weeks. This year was a much larger presentation and in 2024 they plan to fully host the event on the Avenue of the Flags.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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