Vietnam vets to be honored Friday at Hopwood memorial
For Glenn Neilsen of Grindstone, an Army veteran, his experience upon returning from the war in Vietnam in 1970 was similar to many of those who served.
“When we got back, nobody cared about us,” he said.
And for the families of the 49 from Fayette County, seven from Connellsville, who were killed in the war and the one who is still missing, there was no recognition of their sacrifice.
That changed in 1984 when Neilsen and a group of his fellow veterans got together to start fundraising to build a memorial. AMVETS Post 103 in Hopwood gave the group a 99-year lease on the property at Walnut Street and Buttermilk Lane.
By 1986, the funds were raised and the monument was complete. The first vigil was held in 1985.
Now, for the 28th consecutive year, a vigil will be held, beginning at noon Friday at the site to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. A candlelight service will be held, with invitations extended to the families and friends of the fallen, beginning at 9 p.m. The vigil will resume on Saturday, from 7 a.m. until noon.
One special guest who has attended every year will be Zelda Eans. Eans lost her son, Larry, to the war in 1968.
“She more or less adopted us,” Neilsen said.
A standing invitation is open to anyone wishing to stand a 15-minute interval honoring all soldiers of the Vietnam War. The closing ceremony will begin at noon Saturday. The main speaker will be retired Sgt. 1st Class David Lowden, an Army and Vietnam War veteran.
Neilsen said he is proud of the monument and the ceremony. He believes the bad treatment of Vietnam veterans is the reason why treatment of returning veterans today is different.
“(We are) why these kids are now getting recognition,” Neilsen said.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville Area School Board to ask that state budget be passed
- Fayette fair drew larger crowds, income
- Connellsville Area High School German Club to present Oktoberfest Auto Show
- Connellsville wine store fares well
- Connellsville hosting Halloween Home-Decorating Contest
- Shop on Breakneck Road in Connellsville fills a need
- Book sale at Highlands Hospital starts this week
- ‘Rocky Horror’ back in Connellsville
- 2 retired state troopers seek Fayette sheriff’s post
- Tours of Nemacolin Castle in Brownsville offer history, ghost stories
- Fayette County officer pleads guilty to punching man