Gov. John Kasich signed into law today legislation designating March 30 as Vietnam Veterans’ Day. The legislation was introduced by State Senator Mark Wagoner (R) and was passed by the Ohio House on Wednesday afternoon. Veterans attending the ceremony say that this annual day is important to set aside to honor those who fought, died or are still unaccounted for in the Vietnam War.
Among those attending the ceremony was retired Air Force Col. Tom Moe, a Vietnam prisoner of war and now director of Ohio’s veterans services. He said that this declaration will help give Vietnam veterans closure. At the conclusion of his speech, Moe tapped a code that American POWs used to communicate with each other when they were held in in North Vietnamese prisons. The tapped code was GBU or “God Bless the USA,” said Moe. Some of the veterans who attended the ceremony gave Kasich mementos including a POW-MIA bracelet, a challenge coin, bumper sticker and other items. Col. Moe, when asked about his experiences recalled his five years as a POW in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.
USMC veteran and executive director of Ohio Veterans United Harry Prestanski said, “This is a day that can be used to help educate people about the Vietnam War. It will be a day to help dispel myths and lies about the war and about those who served. It can also be a day to inform the public about our millitary brothers and sisters, so that the way some of our Vietnam veterans were mistreated when they came home never happens to our returning servicemen and women again.”
Before and after the ceremony many of the Vietnam veterans could be heard greeting one another with the familiar phrase “Welcome Home.”