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Gilbert Lodge
Since 2004



                 Gilbert Lodge Blog
         The life and times of Mark and Paula Persons

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June 13, 2009:  Minnesota Honors Vietnam Veterans was a full day of activities at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul.  The theme was Honor - Respect -  Remember.  One of those veterans attending was Mark Persons, a U.S. Army Vietnam (1968-1969) veteran and writer of this blog article.
It was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day.  Thousands gathered to be honored for their military service in Vietnam some forty years ago.
The U.S. Flag was everywhere that day.  U.S. servicemen and servicewomen served with distinction in Vietnam in a conflict that divided America.  Veterans returned home to a country where citizens did not know or understand the dedication and sacrifice of those who served.  

A statue of a soldier in Vietnam asking the question, "Why do you forget us?"  The ceremonies featured speakers telling of this tragedy and how Vietnam veterans are now being recognized and remembered for service to their country.

The most commonly heard phrase that day was, "Thank you for your service."    

Servicemen in all branches of the U.S. Military served proudly in Vietnam and still strongly believe in the flag.

I (Mark) ran into a friend at the event and said, "What are you doing here?"  The friend said the same thing back.  We agreed that being a Vietnam veteran is not a well advertised fact.         

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A touching remembrance of a fallen comrade.  This newly-dedicated plaque names the Minnesota Medal of Honor recipients.       
The POW-MIA (Prisoner of War - Missing in Action) organization http://freedomflight.org was there with a hot-air balloon team.   

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The Parade of Colors proudly marched in to the awe and respect of the crowd.          
Native Americans served honorably and with great distinction in the U.S. Armed Services in Vietnam.  They looked very good in this parade.

Many Canadian citizens joined the U.S. Military and fought in Vietnam as well.  Some gave their lives in the conflict.  http://www.cvva.ca         

Soon, there was a flyover of military aircraft.               
The nearby Minnesota Vietnam Memorial Wall drew visitors remembering their loved ones.  Of the more than 147,000 Minnesotans who served in Vietnam, more than 1000 died as a result. 

Click each photo for a better/larger view

A traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. was on hand for people to see and touch the names of those they knew.     
A "missing man formation" was flown over the crowd honoring lost airmen in the conflict.

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Soldiers with various vintages of U.S. Army dress.

Thanks to Brainerd VFW Post 1647 for providing bus transportation to and from the event for Brainerd area veterans.        

I had not been in a UH-1 Huey Helicopter for forty years until today.  Seems like old times from long...long ago and far...far away.       

Quote of the day from Mark Persons:  I served with a group of young handsome guys  Now, 40 years later, I look around and can't find those young guys.  How we have changed.  My 21st and 22nd birthdays were spent in Vietnam with no one to share them with because I was in transit both times.  My job there was repairing radios and other communications equipment on the OV-1 Mohawk aircraft.

E-mail June 16, 2009:  Great Web site!!!  Good job on the Viet Nam entries. I also got a kick out of you and Paula around the "homestead."  Saturday. was a real moving experience for me and I also enjoyed the great conversation...keep up the good work!  Lon in Baxter, MN

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page last edited 04/08/2013