This Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Hundreds of commemorative events are being held nationwide on or around March 29, including some Tampa Bay remembrances.
It started Saturday, with Green Beret and decorated Vietnam Veteran Bill “Hawk” Albracht topping the special plans at the Hillsborough Veterans Memorial Park ceremony remembering those who served in the war. That presentation included remembrances of Gold Medal Recipients, War Dogs and “The Last Patrol” presentation.
Upcoming events include multiple opportunities for former service members to receive a special commemorative lapel pin including:
- March 26-30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vietnam Veterans will have the opportunity to receive a pin at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, the Lee County Healthcare Center, and the Community Based Outpatient Clinics located in Bradenton, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Saint Petersburg, Sarasota and Sebring. Living U.S. Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location are eligible to receive one pin. Proof of service is not required. Pins will be available for pickup at the primary check-in desks at all CBOCs and at the main volunteer/welcome desk located on the first floor of the Lee County Healthcare Center.
- March 26, 9 a.m. As part of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System recognition, VA and MyVA Community Engagement Board leaders will distribute pins at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center’s Lakeside Clinic (building 102) in St. Petersburg, Veterans Canteen (building 1), primary entrances of the hospital building (building 100), and mental health center (building 111).
- March 29, 11 a.m. Pins will be distributed at the Bay Pines Fisher House open house event. The house is located on the campus of the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg.
- March 27, 10 a.m. At a commemoration ceremony in Tampa, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) will honor Vietnam War Veterans and hand out commemorative lapel pins at the Hillsborough Veterans Resource Center, 3602 Highway 301 N., Tampa. Open to family and friends. If you plan to participate contact Dewayne L. Mallory at Dewayne.Mallory@mail.house.gov.
- March 29, 9:30 a.m. Retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the featured speaker at a celebration of Vietnam Veterans in Sarasota, at Patriot Plaza, Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72. Music will be provided by the First Brass of Sarasota along with contributions from Alpha Company Vietnam Brotherhood and Military Officers of America, Sarasota Chapter. Contact Ellwood Schiffman at email@example.com for details.