PIQUA — American Legion Post 184 and VFW Post 4874, both of Piqua, will be paying tribute to two groups of veterans this weekend and are inviting the public to come join in the event. They are hosting a remembrance event for veterans of the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, to be held at the VFW Post 4874, 8756 N. County Road 25-A in Piqua, from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday.
Valerie Mullikin, a helper in the event, said that it has been approximately 50 years since “boots-on-the-ground” for the Vietnam War and approximately 25 years since Desert Storm. Along with American Legion Post 184 and VFW Post 4874, Mullikin and her husband Steven Mullikin, chaplain at American Legion Post 184, decided to fill a lack they saw in recognition for those two groups of veterans.
“Nobody’s doing anything to recognize Vietnam veterans or Desert Storm veterans,” Valerie Mullikin said.
For Mullikin, recognizing these groups of veterans is personal. Mullikin explained that her husband is a disabled Desert Storm veteran and served as an nuclear engineer in the Navy. Mullikin also has an uncle who is a Vietnam veteran.
“He recognizes the importance of recognizing and honoring our veterans,” Mullikin said. “It just really hits home for us.”
For Vietnam veterans, the remembrance event will show appreciation for them in a way that they might not have been honored when they first came home.
“Veterans came home to being spit on,” Mullikin said. “They were very degraded when they came home.”
Mullikin hopes that the event will “open the doors to really embrace them” and said that Vietnam veterans are “long overdue for being recognized and loved.”
There will be a variety of booths set up with information for other common veteran organizations including the Dayton VA Medical Center, the Miami County Veteran Services, Patriot PinUp girls, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Miami Valley Military Museum. Speakers during the event include Dr. James Hardy, Chief of Staff at Dayton VA Medical Center, and Jeff Stapleton with Miami County Veteran Services. Light refreshments will be available.
All veterans and veterans’ families are encouraged to attend the event as well to meet other veterans and gain information about resources for veterans.
“Some veterans today … just really are not aware of all of the services that are available to them,” Mullikin said.
Mullikin also explained that building relationships with other veterans in the community is useful to forming that camaraderie that may have been lost when the veterans finished their service. Mullikin explained that they may have “lost that connection with those people who understand what they’ve been through.”
“Without that [camaraderie], they don’t have an opportunity to begin to heal from the ills of war,” Mullikin said. “Being in a community of like veterans is invaluable to that healing process.”
The event has received much support from the local businesses and community members.
“The community has really stepped up,” Mullikin said. Mullikin explained that the Miami Valley Wounded Veterans Organization will be there and they donated food. The event has also received donations from hotels in town, AM Leonard, numerous restaurants, AAA, and others.
There will also be T-shirts available. They were provided by Atlantis at minimal cost. Dobo’s, Genell’s Flowers, Allisten Manor’s Flower Box, Andy’s Garden, and Special Occasions Party Supply have also contributed to the event.
“We’re looking forward to a big turnout,” Mullikin said.