A moving Vets Day celebration

By George Miller

Oxnard always has a fine and moving Veterans Day celebration to honor those who served in the military, especially in wars. This year was no exception.  There is strong official and club support for this. Hundreds showed up in perfect Oxnard autumn weather on Veterans Day- 11-11-17-  to watch or participate in the parade and ceremonies. Ceremonies were also held around the county, including in Simi Valley and Port Hueneme.

 

Vets, officials and a crowd behind salutes laying of the wreath for Oxnard’s war dead at Oxnard Vets Day celebration, 11-11-17 at Plaza Park war memorial. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us.

The event started out about 10 am with a flag raising. patriotic music and talks by Mayor Tim Flynn, County Supervisor John Zaragoza, 44th District Assemblywomen Jacqui Irwin and 26th District Congresswoman Julia Brownley. All pledged their support to helping veterans. With tens of thousands of vets in the county, this was wise. The entire City Council, Treasurer, City Clerk and some key administrators, such as Martha Guillen, were present. (see event program in this article).

A parade over to nearby Plaza Park followed. Several bands, service organizations, officials, motorcycle-mounted vets, classic cars and even a Congressional candidate- Jeff Burum, trekked or rode over there, led and/or escorted by Oxnard Police and Fire Departments.

Mayor Tim Flynn noted that there is a high level of divisiveness in the nation now, but one thing almost everyone can agree on is to support our men and women in uniform and our veterans, which got a lot of applause. He also noted the new Goodwill Industries Vets Center.

Oxnard Council Members and VC Supv. Zaragoza (sunglasses) begin Vets parade trek from City Hall to Plaza Park- 11-111-17. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJornal.us

Some thought that the most moving presentation of the day, receiving a standing ovation, was delivered by Dave Wilson (below), President of Viet Nam vets of Ventura County. He first chronicled various anniversaries and holidays honoring American military, including events since Armistice Day morphed into Veterans Day. Then he shifted into telling us how bitter he still is about the political divisions which resulted in great hostility to returning veterans from the second-longest war in US history.  He described how they had returned to false accusations/name-calling (“baby-killers,” “drug addicts”), people spitting on them, being frozen out of job opportunities and more. He blamed this on political action, as he did America’s defeat. He was especially angry about icons of the American political and entertainment industry left, such as poster girl Jane Fonda, who he thought undermined the war effort and endangered American Servicemen.

He reminded us that American forces had NEVER lost even a single major battle, but that Congress engineered the defeat via refusing the Paris Accords and pulling out the troops. The actual story is a bit more complex. Some say that the failure of the “Vietnamization” effort also contributed to this defeat via the US pulling out. The black MIA (Missing In Action) flag (see photo below) over his head reminded all of the continuing concern about the missing troops who never returned and what their fate might be. But by the end of the war, there was bipartisan frustration with a very costly and divisive war, which began in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, without Congressional opposition, but without any formal declaration of war. But our troops were called upon to give their all and most did-taking the brunt of the sacrifices. Wilson cautioned that this should never be allowed to happen again.

But it’s fairly evident that the public no longer blames military grunts for failed strategies and alleged illegal orders and has reached out to embrace them. Viet Nam vets were treated like rock stars at this event.  They are finally home, although Wilson lamented that “you can take the soldier out of war, but you can’t take the war out of the soldier,,” and “there is no such thing as an unwounded soldier.”

Chaplain Dave Wilson, President Ventura County Viet Nam Vets speaks at Oxnard Vets Day celebration, 11-11-17./ Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

Viet vet Dr. Robert Hohman expressed some similar sentiments. He was a combat surgeon and advsior in the Central Highlands campaign, which put pressure on the fabled Ho Chi Min trail, which was used by the Communist foe to carry in supplies, much on foot during the War. He described the brutality of the Viet Cong to the indigenous primitive  Montagnard tribe and the US forces’ campaign to attempt to win their hearts and minds.

This year’s Oxnard Vets Day celebration featured Viet Nam vets, who were all over! Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

 

 

Amvets offered this beautiful service pin to all Viet Nam vets present at Oxnard Vets Day celebration 11-11-17. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us.

 

 

In addition to CD26 Rep. Julia Brownley speaking, one of her rivals, Jeff Burum, was in the Oxnard Vets Day parade, 11-11-17. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

 

Classic cars in the Oxnard Vets Day parade, 11-11-17. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us

 

 

 

 

Oxnard Vets Memorial. Photo: Alex Burum.

Honor our veterans on Veterans Day- November 11

Honor our veterans on Veterans Day- November 11

By George Miller     That we have a nation and still have most of our freedoms is more attributable to our armed forces veterans than anything else. Many of them have suffered, died, or just worked long and hard, for us– to help keep us free. Let’s remember them not just on Tuesday, November 11, […]

 

George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.


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One Response to A moving Vets Day celebration

  1. William Hicks November 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Many years ago, I was active with VVVC. We demonstrated at the Ventura Government Center during the Senate Select Committee’s hearings on the Vietnam POW/MIA debacle. I even received the over 3,000 page Senate Select Committee’s findings. Hidden in those 3,000 words they admitted that…..We knew we left living Americans to rot and die in Vietnam.

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