Vietnam Veterans Day 2023
Highlights: An amazing day of remembrance and recognition for those Vietnam Veterans who perished in Vietnam… and a big “Welcome Home” for those present. Change of venue (due to weather) didn’t deter people from attending. Our gracious host, General Society of Mechanics/Tradesmen of the City of NY, Victoria Dengel, warmly welcomed us to their facilities in their iconic library!
Reading of the Names of the Fallen: Led by Marleen “Molly” Levi, the names of 1,744 New Yorkers who perished in Vietnam were read by approximately 40 Name Readers without interruption. Gold Star Family Members acknowledged the name of their loved one as they read their section. Molly acknowledged her late partner, former ED of UWVC and creator of this event, Patrick (Pat) L. Gualtieri, and, Joe Ingino, Vietnam veteran, who passed Dec. 2022 from Agent Orange.
Commissioner, DVS, James Hendon read the names of the 40 New York City MIA/POWs.
Name Reading concluded with those New Yorkers who perished in post 9-11 conflicts, specifically Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
A Box Lunch provided courtesy of Wounded Warriors – went very quickly!
Speakers, Presentations, Proclamations: Mayor Adams, DVS Proclamation, and several others spoke.
Special Flag Presentation: An open flag was displayed; then folded with meticulous precision according to regulations and presented to VVA Chapter 126 President Fred Gasior.
Wreath Ceremony Presentation: Over 15 wreaths were presented by various chapters, organizations, individuals, groups, sponsors. Gold Star Members invited up to place a rose in the special wreath for them; very poignant and moving.
Vicki Miano, Gold Star Sister, read her brother’s letters home as published in the book “Dear America Letters Home From Vietnam". It was emotional for Vicki and the audience.
The Patrick L. Gualtieri Service to Vietnam Veterans Award was presented to this year’s honoree, Bill Nelson and accepted by Marleen “Molly” Levi. Ryan Hegg read Bill’s interesting biography. Mark Otto presented the beautiful Award to Molly on behalf of our dear friend Bill. Molly read his acceptance speech with spirit and fervor to a warm reception.