L to R- Vue Yang (Hmong Special Guerilla Units) Hmong Speaker, Congressman Ron Kind spoke about the importance of veterans telling and preserving their stories , & News Anchor Judy Clark (WEAU 13 News) who was Masters of Ceremony. Judy is one of the most genuine and down to earth people you could meet. She is very professional, but also alot of fun to be around.
Dann Dunham came all the way from Tennessee to be with us. Dann is the one who helped get the very first Vietnam Veteran’s Day bill passed for his state. He also helped initiate the federal resolution. Vue Yang was our Hmong speaker and represented the Hmong Special Guerilla Units from Sheboygan and the President of the Hmong, Laos, & American Veteran Memorial also in Sheboygan. Hmong and Laos Veterans came from Sheboygan, Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau to be a part of us that day. Watch my speech about the Hmong Veterans (Memorial day 2010) and learn how they sacrificed their lives for the United States- https://commonbondveteranscircle.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/memorial-day-presentation-2010/
Robert Mann (Ho-Chunk Nation) & Thuy getting ready to present tobacco to the Little Thunder Native American Drummers (cultural exchange).
Native American Drummers and afterward being presented with Native American blanket.
We had over 600 people attend.
Aisle of Honor- This consisted of the Army Reserves, Marines, Navy, Bikers for Christ, Boy Scouts, and the Fire Department. Vietnam Veterans and their family members came down the Aisle of honor for us to pay tribute to them. It was one of the most powerful pieces of the event. Congressman Kind, my Hmong cultural coordinator, Judy Clark (New anchor & Master of Ceremonies), & I greeted them as they came through. Others from the crowd applauding to show their appreciation. Many hugs & some tears. I heard quite a few testimonies of Veterans and family members stating this was the first time attending any event like this. I also heard a story of a Vet and his son who were never close, walked down the Aisle together and since then mended their relationship. Another Gold Star mother had been asked in the past to participate in speaking about her son. She could never do it. It was too painful, but she finally decided to come to our event and a Vietnam Veteran friend wheeled her down the Aisle of Honor on behalf of her son.
Aisle of Honor started-more pictures of Veterans coming through with their families below.
To the right- one of three Hmong cultural performances.
Representative for Gold Star Mothers. I’m walking my parents down the aisle in the end.
Greeting people in the Aisle of Honor
I am getting ready to talk about my organization’s work including how I first started getting involved with Vietnam Vets, how the bill came about, what my vision was for this very first official Vietnam Veteran’s Day Celebration for Wisconsin was, and my personal connection as a proud daughter of a Vietnam Veteran. The second picture is of me with Congressman Ron Kind and my handsome husband and best friend Steve.
This army uniform belongs to a Vietnam Veteran from the area. We placed it on this table representing those who didn’t make it back and others who we’ve lost since returning from Vietnam. I am burning incense out of a respect and tribute to them and their families.
Tom Nutting performing before the ceremony started and a song during the ceremony. We had another group who was going to perform, but then one of the musicians injured himself. He didn’t want to leave us stranded so he kept a lookout for someone to replace them. One day they were at an open microphone segment at a local club and this is where they heard Tom perform his one and only song that night. It was a song Tom wrote as a tribute to his brother and close friend who were Vietnam Veterans. The second picture is a group of Marines who were also part of our Aisle of Honor.
Boy Scouts and Fire Department Honor Guard were also involved in the Aisle of Honor.
We had a Huey on the grounds for display. People loved checking it out including the kids.
Our Masters of Ceremony News Anchor Judy Clark and the WEAU NEWS 13 Team -Terry Mchugh, John Laporte, & Andrew Felix.
A Banquet followed with the community event serving Vietnamese and Hmong cuisine. We also had major Vietnamese entertainment that came from California. Her name is Lilian and she is French and Vietnamese. The second picture is of Dann Dunham and I at the banquet.
Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 and I at banquet. A real genuine group of people who supported not only my work with Veterans, but have done much on behalf of Veterans themselves. They are alot of fun to hang with. In the second picture is Laura Hammon who is the founder of DOVV- Daughters of Vietnam Veterans. I was the first one of our network that she came to meet in person. Thanks Laura for supporting our event for Wisconsin and all you do. Another supporter was the former group Amerasian Fellowship Association who also contributed to this day.