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Vietnam Veterans Honored in First Annual Welcome Home Ceremony

Manchester hosted its first annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day at Manchester's Veterans Memorial in Margaret J. Stoecker Park.

Around 100 residents and veterans gathered at Manchester's Veterans Memorial in on Saturday morning to honor Vietnam veterans.

Franz Kraintz, Director of Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development for the City of Manchester, welcomed veterans and guests.

"The purpose of having an annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day on March 30 and 31 is to provide the nation an opportunity to finally pay the respect due these heroes. Manchester is joining hundreds of other cities across the country in using these two days to officially recognize and commemorate the sacrifices and heroic efforts made by the veterans who served in the Vietnam War," said Kraintz.

Dan Wilson of the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter 1028 led his Military Funerals Honors Firing Team in presenting the colors and firing.

Chaplain Robert Collingwood, of the U.S. Veterans Administration led the event in prayer.

Vietnam Veteran Richard Wiedermann led the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Manchester Mayor David Willson spoke of living through the Vietnam War.

Thanks to the veterans was offered by Sgt. Amy Norris, of the West County Army Recruiting Station.

Vietnam Veteran and President of the World Bird Sanctuary, Walt Crawford, honored his fellow veterans with a presentation of American bald eagle, Liberty.

A three volley firing salute was given as volunteer Paul Hollingshead played TAPS. Final remarks were given by Kraintz.

"I thought the ceremony was wonderful," said Manchester resident and event organizer civilian American Red Cross volunteer Susan DeWitt. "It was a great message, and I know the men appreciated being welcomed home finally."

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