Welcome Home VN Vets (Cromwell, CT) 3/30/12

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Vietnam vets to be welcomed home in Cromwell — 37 years after the end of the war

Published: Tuesday, February 07, 2012; Last Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 2:06 AM EST

By JEFF MILL
Press Staff

CROMWELL – It’s the ceremony they never had, and the thanks they never received.

Cromwell will officially welcome home its Vietnam veterans with a ceremony March 30, the 37th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

The town’s newly formed veterans’ Affairs Committee will host the ceremony on Friday the 30th, in the Town Hall gymnasium. Committee Chairwoman Cecile Fazio said the event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The program will include welcoming remarks by First Selectman Mertie Terry and a wreath-laying at the Vietnam Memorial in the entrance to atrium at town hall.

The Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle club made up of veterans, has committed to attending the ceremony and mounting a flag line, Fazio said Thursday evening, following a committee meeting.

Once the more formal part of the ceremony has concluded, Fazio said the intention is for veterans and their families to mix and mingle with one another and with townspeople in the gymnasium while enjoying a buffet.

Fellow committee member Cathy Hodlin said the committee will provide music from the Vietnam era, as well as a photo-montage of people and events from the 1960’s and ‘70’s.

In 2010, then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed legislation establishing March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” in the state. This is the first time Cromwell has marked the day.

In all, some 80,000 Connecticut residents served in Vietnam; 612 of them were killed in action, including Marine L/Cpl. Thomas W. Fritsch of Cromwell.

While the event is scheduled to specifically honor Vietnam veterans, Fazio said all Cromwell veterans and indeed all Cromwell residents are welcome and are urged to attend the event.

“We want as many townspeople as can to come out to say ‘Thank You’ to our Vietnam veterans for their service,” Fazio said.

There will be a register at the event for Vietnam veterans to sign. Hodlin said the committee hopes that the register will yield a more accurate count of who the Vietnam veterans in town are.

Hodlin said any individuals, local businesses and/or civil groups who want to help out in putting on the event should call the first selectman’s office at (860) 632-3410.

http://www.middletownpress.com/articles/2012/02/07/news/doc4f307b58116bd218534977.txt