Times Standard (Eureka)
Veterans mark end of Vietnam war anniversary
The 46th anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War was commemorated in Fortuna on March 29, with a ceremony at Sunrise Cemetery.
The commemoration was held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2207 and the Eel River Valley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, to honor all who served on active duty between Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of where they served.
Statistics presented at the ceremony included: 9 million Americans served during the above-mentioned time period, 2.7 million service members served in Vietnam, 58,000 gave the ultimate sacrifice and whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., 304,000 who were wounded in action, 1,253 who are missing in action and have not returned home to American soil, and 2,500 prisoners of war.
Among the three dozen people in attendance were Vietnam War Veterans such as Gene Womack (Army) who served aboard helicopters in the jungles of Vietnam, Rick Center (Navy) who served aboard submarines, patrolling underwater for months at a time, Ron Eldridge (Navy) who served in the rivers of Vietnam aboard a Navy patrol gunboat (Brown Water Navy), Robert Terry (Navy) who spent seventeen years of his 21 years on the Navy aboard ships patrolling the Western Pacific, including Vietnam five times, Dr. George Jutila (Air Force) who served as an Air Force physician, Alvin Dunnegan (Navy) who not only served aboard ship with several tours in the waters of Vietnam, but also served as a Company Commander (Navy Drill Instructor), and Dean Glaser (Navy) who served in the Naval Reserve.
Noting that the Vietnam War was an unpopular war, veteran Ron Eldridge said, “When some of us returned home, we were treated with disrespect and hate.
Those who come home, deserve the utmost respect.”
There were also community members who attended the ceremony to pay tribute to friends whom they had lost in the war in Vietnam.