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Special day set aside Friday to honor Vietnam veterans

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West Fargo VFW Post 7564 is setting aside Friday, March 29, as a special day to honor Vietnam Veterans.

The doors will open at 1 p.m. in acknowledgment of Vietnam Veterans Day, with registration from 1 to 6 p.m. in the lower level of the clubrooms at 308 Sheyenne Street.

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Complimentary pizza will be served throughout the registration time and happy hour prices will be observed all afternoon for Vietnam veterans and their spouses or guests.

West Fargo VFW member and Vietnam veteran Jim Hapala is chairing the event that was officially proclaimed on March 29, 2010, by then Governor John Hoeven as Vietnam Veterans day, marking the 35th anniversary of the end of American involvement in the Vietnam conflict. The event is now celebrated annually in the U.S.

There will also Vietnam era memorabilia, videos and books, on display for viewing, reflection and discussion.

A program at 6 p.m.will feature the reading of names of the eight North Dakota soldiers still missing in action; as well as a recitation of the number of Vietnam veterans killed in service from the states of North and South Dakota and Minnesota.

Accenting the readings will be the POW/MIA table and chair appropriately set with a rose, lemon, and salt representing that time of service.

There will also be time allocated to any veteran wishing to share a message relating to their time in Vietnam.

Vietnam veterans will be able to register for a chance to win an R & R travel voucher for two valued at $1000 donated by the West Fargo VFW post. The drawing will be held at 7 p.m. but you need not be present to win. Winners must however show Proof of Vietnam service ( DD 214).

Hapala said depending upon the information provided when registering, i.e. years of Vietnam service, what branch of service, and unit attached to, those attending might even find a person they served with.

With the day being Good Friday, Hapala said he is not sure what the turnout will be but is hoping for a sizeable attendance. To comply with Lenten practices of Catholics who may be attending, he said cheese pizzas will also be served with the other varieties.

He encourages anyone with photos or memorabilia to bring them along to share with fellow Vietnam veterans.

Hapala said members of the general public are also welcome to attend.

Anyone wishing more information can call Hapala at 701-306-5934 or email at jhapala@far.midco.net.

Hapala said he is looking forward to the interaction and is happy to be involved. “I said let’s do it and it will only get better next year. It’s unbelievable but about half of us are already gone,” he added. “I think this is something the Vietnam Vets deserve and I am grateful they proclaimed the day because this really should be observed as an annual event.”

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