BERLIN — Vietnam War veterans will be honored and given a chance to tell their stories during a ceremony being held by Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz at McGee Middle School on Sept. 9.
Veterans will receive a citation from Bysiewicz and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas Saadi, or a representative from his office, will present them with a lapel pin.
Veterans who are interested in participating must notify the Town Clerk’s Office by August 30 so certifications can be prepared. Berlin Veterans Commission Chairperson Charles Colaresi said he and Town Clerk Kate Wall worked to identify as many Vietnam veterans as they could to ensure they received a notification about the event by mail.
The memorial is part of a series Bysiewicz has been doing across the state, first recognizing veterans from World War Two, then the Korean War and now the Vietnam War.
“Each group I think had a special reason for the recognition … my dad was a World War Two veteran and he inspired me to do these,” Bysiewicz said.
In speaking to veterans from that era, she found that many didn’t consider their time in the military to be exceptional. Since it was the expectation that every able-bodied man would do their part, they didn’t feel that had done anything special. Like veterans from the Second World War, the circumstances of those who fought in Korea and Vietnam come with their own particular reasons that make it important for their service to be recognized.
“What I learned about the Korean (War) veterans was it was actually called the Forgotten War, because it was never officially declared and it was never officially ended,” Bysiewicz said. “There weren't parades and there weren’t celebrations when it ended.”
While she’s still working on visiting each town to thank their Korean War veterans, this will be Bysiewicz’s third ceremony in Berlin.
“Berlin is a town that I think appreciates its veterans and when we did those ceremonies, the World War Two and the Korean recognition, the whole community came out to celebrate their service,” she said.