Vietnam 50th Anniversary is Nov. 7

The Vietnam 50th Commemorative Ride to honor and thank veterans, POWs and MIAs of the Vietnam War for their service will be Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon. Pictured are the planning team: Mike DeSantis, general manager of Heart of Dixie Harley Davidson; Event Chair Kenneth Paschal, American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555; Neville Peacock, David Lindsay Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; David Lee, Post 555 Legion Riders; and Quincy Whitehead, executive director of Alabama National Cemetery. (Contributed)

The Vietnam 50th Commemorative Ride to honor and thank veterans, POWs and MIAs of the Vietnam War for their service will be Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon. Pictured are the planning team: Mike DeSantis, general manager of Heart of Dixie Harley Davidson; Event Chair Kenneth Paschal, American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555; Neville Peacock, David Lindsay Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; David Lee, Post 555 Legion Riders; and Quincy Whitehead, executive director of Alabama National Cemetery. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Vietnam veterans returned home to scorn and an anti-war campaign that undermined the support of the military.

Soldiers were told to not wear their uniforms in public.

It was a horrible time in our country’s history and many have not forgotten those painful years.

Many in Shelby County want to remember and honor our Vietnam Veterans.

Led by the American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555, Kenneth Paschal event chair, the Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemorative Ride will be held of Saturday, Nov. 7, “to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personal who were held as prisoners of war or listed missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank them and honor families of their veterans,” states the event’s purpose.

Assisting the Legion are the Exchange Club of Shelby County, which is organizing original art work by Shelby County students to be given to the vets.

The David Lindsay Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the only DAR chapter in Shelby County, will give each vet Vietnam 50th commemorative lapel pins, presidential proclamations and certificates of appreciation for their service.

The event is also sponsored by: Alabama National Cemetery, Quincy Whitehead director; Heart of Dixie Harley Davidson in Pelham (HOD), Mike DeSantis general manager; and Post 555 Legion Riders, David Lee, ride chair.

Refreshments will be provided by McAlister’s Deli, California Pizza at Riverchase, Cake Art by Cynthia Bertolone and ASDAR David Lindsay Chapter.

The free event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will start at 10 a.m. at the Alabama National Cemetery flag Assembly area, 3133 Alabama 119, Montevallo, Ala. 35115, where a 30-minute program will be given, including musical tribute by Rob Robinson Jr. and The Averett Singers, wreath laying ceremony presented by Vietnam veterans, nurse Joyce Franklin and Purple Heart recipient Roosevelt McCray, speech by Chaplain Michael Raymo and “Taps” played by Bugler Across America James Quakenbush.

Motorcycle riders (and cars) will proceed to HOD Harley Davidson, 333 Cahaba Valley Parkway North, Pelham, 35124.

The 30-minute route will be guided by police from Montevallo, Calera and Pelham.

The public is encouraged to welcome our Vietnam veterans home by waving flags along the route and especially as they enter the HOD parking lot.

The riders and veterans are expected to arrive at HOD by 11:45 a.m.

The second program will begin at noon led by Master of Ceremonies Gene Rowley, APH Radio station manager.

American Idol finalist Jessica Muese from Slapout, Ala., will sing and all veterans will receive gifts of appreciation.

After the program, lunch will be served.

Event timeline found at Alpost555.com/events/viertnam-veteran-ride-appreciation/.

The event is free, but RSVP is requested. Call David at (808) 384-7536, Kenneth at (205) 626-9458, email LegionRiders@alpost555.com or RSVP on Facebook at Facebook.com/events/1050183444991864.