The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services (MBVS) welcomed several hundred Vietnam Veterans at the State House (Hall of Flags) on Friday, March 29 to celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The event was standing room only when MBVS Director David Richmond opened the ceremony and Maine band, Blind Albert (whose guitarist is a U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran) set the tone for the afternoon with a fantastic rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, “Run Through the Jungle.”
Major General Douglas A. Farnham of the Maine National Guard and Governor Janet Mills addressed the audience. Governor Mills read the state of Maine’s Proclamation and noted her own brother’s service during the war. Both she and Maj. Gen. Farnham later greeted veterans in the rotunda.
There were multiple Vietnam era displays, including a remembrance table for those who didn’t return from the war. Posters created by Harbor Tech utilizing Boothbay region veterans’ original photographs created a lot of remembrance and discussion throughout the afternoon. A very special Vietnam veterans birthday cake (symbolizing all the birthdays missed while serving in the military) was made by Gold Star Sister, Nancy Tibbetts Stoddard of Boothbay Harbor, and Vietnam era C-Rations were offered (ham and Lima beans), but their were no takers.
Boothbay Harbor’s Ross Maddocks, a two-tour Vietnam Veteran, presented the ceremonial red, white and blue wreath beneath the Maine Vietnam War Plaque in the Hall of Flags while “Taps” was played by the Maine Air National Guard Honor Guard. The afternoon concluded with refreshments, veterans’ recognition, more music by Blind Albert, and several unexpected veterans’ reunions.
The Boothbay region was well represented at the event - Russell Jackson, Ross Maddocks, Barclay Shepard, Barry Sherman and Jim Singer all received state recognition certificates and coins. The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services would like to thank all the Vietnam veterans who participated in this year’s event and hope others will join us for next year’s celebration.