Wis. vets agency holds Vietnam commemoration

By: Britni McDonald Email
By: Britni McDonald Email

POSTED Friday, November 8, 2013-- 6:30 p.m.

"Years ago I enlisted, knew nothing of Vietnam," said Lindbeck.

Now 50 years later, Sgt. Richard Lindbeck remembers stepping off the plane in Vietnam like it was yesterday.

"It was hot. The biggest thing you remember is walking into the wall of heat," said Lindbeck.

In that heat were hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting for our country, thousands of them never coming home.

"I was on my second tour in Vietnam. I got shot down four times prior to that day," said Gary Wetzel.

Wetzel made it home but barely.

"I got in a situation where something had to be done," said Wetzel. "A lot of people yelling for help. I did the best I could."

His actions didn't go unnoticed, now standing with a medal of honor, granted in 1968.

"I wear this blue ribbon around my neck, but I wear it for everybody. It's part of all of us I'm just a caretaker as a soldier trying to do a job," said Wetzel.

And Lindbeck showed the jobs he mastered with badges, worn with pride.

Just two of dozens at the Capitol today for a ceremony and thank you that's long overdue.

"We weren't recognized when we came back," said Lindbeck.

But above the badges, medals, and plaques are two simple words.

"It's the biggest thing to say 'welcome home' and thank them for their service. That's the nicest thing you can do," said Lindbeck.

A plaque was unveiled to commemorate all veterans.


Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013 --- 5:53 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is planning to hold a Vietnam commemoration as part of the state's Veterans Day celebration.

The free event, dubbed "Operation Dustoff: Vietnam Remembered," is designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war. It's set to take place on Friday at the state Capitol in Madison.

The agenda includes a veteran-led motorcycle rally, displays on the Capitol Square that will include military tribute vehicles, displays inside the Capitol and a ceremony in the rotunda featuring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs John Garcia, Vietnam veteran George Banda and Medal of Honor winner Gary Wetzel.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum will hold an open house following the ceremony featuring a new Civil War exhibit.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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