AUGUSTA — Members of the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter wanted to do something to show veterans of the Vietnam War the kind of recognition most of them didn’t get when they returned home decades ago.

It turned out a lot of others wanted to do so, too.

So plans for a small wreath laying ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park in Augusta Sunday have grown to include numerous speakers, three honor guards and a group of veterans and supporters on motorcycles.

“We wanted to do something for the Vietnam vets because they didn’t really get the warm welcome home troops do today and others did in the past,” said Cheryl Swift, of Augusta, regent of the Koussinoc Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “This is our way of saying thank you to those veterans for the service they gave. When they came home, they were called baby killers, they were made to feel guilty for doing something they were forced to do. This is to honor them and the job they did.”

The local DAR members, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 2 in Augusta and the Patriot Guard Riders will conduct the wreath ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday at the memorial in Capitol Park.

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation in 2012 declaring the 13-year period from May 28, 2012, to Nov. 11, 2025, as the official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. His proclamation noted the federal government would partner with local governments, private organizations and communities across the country “to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced” during the 13-year commemoration period.

Speakers who have committed to the event, according to Swift, include Gov. Paul LePage; U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud; state Senator Roger Katz; State Historian Earle Shettleworth; Brig. Gen. Gerald Bolduc, commander of the Maine Air National Guard and Maine’s assistant adjutant general; American Legion and Daughters of the American Revolution officials, and Mike Edgecomb, of the Maine Patriot Guard Riders.

The Patriot Guard Riders are a group of motorcyclists who support veterans. Swift said group members plan to ride in for the event, around 12:45 p.m.

Three honor guards from American Legion posts in Winthrop and Augusta and the Maine State Select Honor Guard will participate in the ceremony.

Swift said all veterans and the public are encouraged to attend.

Swift said Sept. 21 isn’t believed to be a significant day in Vietnam War history but was selected because it was simply considered a good day to have the event.

The event will take place rain or shine.

A reception, with refreshments, is planned following the ceremony at American Legion Post 2 on Capital Street in Augusta.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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