‘Acceptance, gratitude and honor’

Fort Verde to host sixth annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event

Following a rotation among other communities in the Verde Valley, the annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day event will return to Camp Verde for the first time since 2014. The 2018 event will take place  March 31, at the Fort Verde State Historic Park and Camp Verde Community Park. VVN/Bill Helm

Following a rotation among other communities in the Verde Valley, the annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day event will return to Camp Verde for the first time since 2014. The 2018 event will take place March 31, at the Fort Verde State Historic Park and Camp Verde Community Park. VVN/Bill Helm

— Folks who remember the last time Camp Verde was host to Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day are sure to remember how windy it was at Fort Verde State Historic Park.

The Fort’s historic parade grounds is a field mostly of dirt – and rocks.

“This year, we’d like to have nice weather, no rain, no snow, really nice conditions,” said Alan Tobish of VFW 7400 Cottonwood, one of the annual event’s organizers.

Each year, Arizona State Parks & Trails, as well as the Town of Camp Verde and the cities of Cottonwood and Sedona put on Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day as a cooperative event.

According to a press release from Arizona State Parks & Trails, recognizing Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day is a “gesture of acceptance, gratitude and honor to the members of our community who risked their lives to serve our country during the Vietnam War.”

“Because a large part of the population had misgivings about the war, many Vietnam Veterans returned home to an unsupportive public,” the press release stated. “Local Vietnam veterans will now have the opportunity to be welcomed home, celebrated and honored for their service, as well as the lives lived upon their return.”

A Welcome Home to Vietnam Veterans

Saturday, March 31, the sixth annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day will commence at Fort Verde, as an escorted motorcycle ride organized by American Legion Riders Post #93 will arrive at the Fort.

The motorcycle ride begins at 11:10 a.m. at the Sedona Elks Club as riders will go through Cottonwood, Clarkdale, back through Cottonwood and finally to Camp Verde where riders will arrive at 12:30 p.m.

The Sedona Elks Club is located at 110 Airport Road. For more information on the ride, call (928) 300-9829.

At 1 p.m. festivities will begin at Fort Verde with a color guard presentation, the raising of the colors, and brief remarks. Arrive as early as noon, said Fort Verde Park Manager Sheila Stubler.

The event will include entertainment, food, information on Veterans’ benefits, and finish with the retrieval of the colors at 3 p.m.

Some of the Verde Valley’s veterans groups organize the event, such as American Legion Post 93 Camp Verde, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6739 Camp Verde, American Legion Post 135 Cornville, Marine Corps League Verde Valley Detachment 1176 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7400 Cottonwood.

“It is hoped that fellow Veterans from other wars, organizations both public and private, schools, as well as parents, spouses, children and friends of Vietnam Veterans, come out and be together during this day,” the press release stated.

In honor of the U.S.O. Performers, a $2,000 donation was made to Fort Verde to subsidize the cost to enter the Fort on March 31.

For more information, visit azstateparks.com/fort-verde. Or contact Fort Verde State Historic Park at (928) 567-3275. Fort Verde State Historic Park is located at 125 E. Holloman St. in Camp Verde.

To learn more about Arizona State Park and Trails’ Veteran Discount Program, visit AZStateParks.com.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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