March 11, 2010 Issue (Volume One- Serving Chippewa Valley)
Glimpse / Vietnam Veteran’s Day Gets Real
words by Matt Ledger
On March 27, Eau Claire’s North High School will host the first official Vietnam Veterans’ Day Celebration in Wisconsin, the end result of a long campaign by Eau Claire resident Thuy Smith.
Thuy, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran father and Vietnamese mother, is the head of Thuy Smith International Outreach Inc., a humanitarian nonprofit that focuses its efforts in Vietnam, but is just as committed to helping veterans here at home.
That commitment culminated last year’s passage of Wisconsin’s Vietnam Veterans’ Day Bill, establishing an official day to honor Vietnam vets. “This gathering is an ultimate tribute and celebration for them,” says Thuy, “and they’re so humble about it, which makes me love them all the more.” The celebration, though, is just as much for the community as it is the veterans themselves. “This is also education,” says Thuy, “cultural exchange.”
That exchange will take place in the form of speeches and cultural presentations by Hmong, Native American, and Vietnamese groups. In addition, three Vietnam Veterans. All who come out will also be able to see a Huey helicopter and an advance screening of a Wisconsin Public Television documentary on Wisconsin’s Vietnam vets.
“It’s important for the vets and their families to come out,” Thuy says, “but what’s just as important, what’s going to have just as much power and impact for these guys, is if the community shows up.” More information is available at thuysmithinternationaloutreach.org.
-For more pictures from our the very first official Vietnam Veterans day Celebration for WI, click link below.