Coast Guard crew will honor Vietnam veterans

Crewmembers of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Wedge have a special ceremony planned for the Vietnam War veterans in the area. Each veteran will be honored with a lapel pin and a presidential proclamation at a special ceremony on Oct. 5, 9:15-11 a.m. at the Coplin building located at 201 E. Washington St.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will kick-off with a coffee social so they can meet the “true heroes of the Vietnam era”, according to Senior Chief Kyle Norman, the officer in charge of USCGC Wedge.

The presentation of colors will be conducted by Demopolis High School’s JROTC, followed by an address from the keynote speaker, Captain Torrey Garrison, a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. After that, the lapel pinning ceremony will take place.

“We’ll have an opportunity for folks to deliver their thanks to some local veterans and honor their service,” Norman said.

The ceremony itself is part of the 12 x 12 Campaign orchestrated by the Coast Guard. The goal of the campaign is to honor 1200 veterans at 12 units over the course of 12 months. The Wedge crew volunteered to host an event and hope to see 100 veterans honored at it.

As well as it being the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, the Demopolis Coast Guard is leading up to the 55th anniversary of their own ship, the Wedge, which will be celebrated next year.

Norman said he felt it was especially important that Vietnam War veterans be honored, as they served during the era that the Wedge was built.

“Our youngest generation, including myself, just really doesn’t understand what they went through, and it’s important that we honor those guys and gals and that we meet them and pay our respects for their service,” he said.

Planning for the event heavily involved Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5377 Post Surgeon Phillip Spence and William Coplin, who owns the building that the ceremony will be taking place in.

To register, email the veteran’s name, dates of service and branch of service. All veterans who served active-duty between Nov.1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, whether or not they saw battle and regardless of location, are eligible to be honored at the ceremony. Deadline for registration is Oct. 1.