by Ethan Nahté
Wreaths Across America (WAA) is proud to announce that its Mobile Education Exhibit (MEE), will be stopping in Mena to honor those who served and welcome home Vietnam veterans. The MEE will open Tuesday, April 12, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for a scheduled event that is both free and open to the public. This event is presented by James K. Polk Chapter, NSDAR, and will take place at the Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium parking lot, 901 Geyer Drive.
Cortez J. Copher, regent for the James K. Polk Chapter NSDAR said, “We will be having a presentation inside the stadium at 10 a.m. The theme is ‘Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans’ but it’s open to all veterans from all branches of the military and the general public.”
Tuesday, March 29, was the national observance of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, honoring the military who served in the Vietnam War. March 29, 1973 was the day U.S. Military Assistance Command and the last U.S. combat troops departed. It was made official by President Trump through the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017. Americans are encouraged to display the U.S. flag in honor of Vietnam veterans.
Retired U.S. Army Col. Billy R. Wood will be the guest speaker. Wood will recognize reflect upon March 29 and have words of welcome to all vets, but especially to the Vietnam Veterans. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Field Artillery as an enlisted soldier in 1963.
The event will include patriotic musical performances, the Pledge of Allegiance and a presentation.
The MEE will stop outside of Mena on Hwy. 8 E, approximately 3.5 miles outside of town at the pull off just before the silos at what is known as either Smith’s or Bogart’s Corner Monday, around 2 p.m., then arrive at the football stadium around 2:30, possibly with an escort..
The MEE has interactive exhibits, short films, and veterans can share their stories. The exhibit serves as a mobile museum, educating visitors about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes as well as serving as an official “welcome home” station for our nation’s Vietnam Veterans.
When the MEE pulls into your area, all veterans, active-duty military, their families, and the local community members are invited and encouraged to visit, take a tour and speak with WAA representatives and volunteers. They can also share more about the national nonprofit, and the work its volunteers do to support our heroes and their communities year-round.
The public tours for the MEE are free and open to the public with social distancing, sanitation and COVID-19 safety procedures in place to protect the health of all visitors in accordance with the CDCs recommendation for large gatherings stemming from concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the media, dignitaries, veterans and other interested groups are urged to come, ask questions, share stories and experience this one-of-a-kind exhibit.
You can sponsor a veteran’s wreath anytime for $15 at wreathsacrossamerica.org/.