50 Yrs After War, Vietnam Memorial In Ripley Co.
The American Veterans Travelling Tribute Vietnam Memorial replica.
(Versailles, Ind.) – In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam War, The Ripley County Veterans Memorial Committee and The Vietnam Veterans Tribute Committee are honoring Ripley County Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans, and all veterans with two major events in July.
A Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans Tribute is planned for Saturday, July 21. The event will feature Sammy L. Davis, U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam veteran as keynote speaker. Norris Kearns, former Chaplain of the National American Legion and current chaplain of the Indiana Department of the American Legion and a Vietnam veteran, will also be a part of the Tribute, as will representatives from all of Ripley County’s Veterans Service Organizations , the Patriot Guard and Vietnam Veterans of Southeast Indiana. A ceremony will be conducted for Vietnam Veterans killed or missing in action and their families. All veterans who served in the Vietnam War or during the Vietnam Era and who lived in Ripley County during the Vietnam War or who are currently residing in Ripley County will be honored at the event. All veterans who have served in peacetime or in war and who are in attendance will also be recognized .
The Tribute, which will be held at South Ripley High School Gym, at 1589 S. Benham Road in Versailles, IN, will begin at 1:00 p.m. Parking will be at the rear of the high school and entry will be by Door 10. Escorts will be present to help those in need of assistance from the parking lot to the gym. All veterans, their families and friends and the people of Southeast Indiana are invited to attend this first ever Ripley County Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans Tribute to give a long, overdue thank you to our Vietnam Veterans and Vietnam Era Veterans for their service to our country.
The second event will be the display of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, “Cost of Freedom Tribute” featuring an 80% replica of the Vietnam Memorial. Panels also pay tribute to all veterans, 911 victims, firefighters and the police forces. The “Cost of Freedom Tribute” will be escorted to Versailles by the Ripley County Sheriff, the Indiana State Police, Ripley County’s Police and Fire Departments, the Patriot Guard, the American Legion Riders, War on Terrorism families and citizens of Ripley County and Southeast Indiana on Wednesday, July 18. Staging for the Escort will be in Batesville city parking lot, just west of Batesville Wing Co. from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. A briefing will be held at 4:30 p.m. The Escort will depart at 5 p.m. via East Pearl St. to State Road 46 and travel at the approximate times that follow , through the communities of Batesville – 5:00 p.m., Morris – 5:05 to 5:10 p.m., Penntown – 5:15 to 5:20 p.m., Sunman – 5:25 to 5:30 p.m., Milan – 5:45 to 5:50 p.m., Delaware – 6:00 to 6:05 p.m., Osgood – 6:15 to 6:20 p.m. and Versailles at approximately 6:30 to 6:35 p.m. Community members are encouraged to greet the Escort along the road, as it travels through each town. The Escort will arrive at its destination at the Southeastern Career Center, 901 W. U.S. 50, Versailles, IN. Arrival time is projected to be just past 6:30 p.m. Following an Escort Welcome, a reception for the Escort will be held at Versailles American Legion Post 173, 119 S Washington St., Versailles, IN. Anyone interested in being a part of the opening Escort or the closing Ride of Honor on Sunday, July 22, are asked to contact Tim Kieffer, Ride Captain at 812 212-1297.
The “Cost of Freedom Tribute” will be open and free to the public, beginning on Thursday, July 19, following the Opening Ceremony at 12 noon and will close on Sunday, July 22, following the Ride of Honor at 1 p.m. and the Closing Ceremony at 3 p.m. The “Cost of Freedom Tribute” will be available, free to the public, for viewing, 24 hours daily from Opening through Closing. Computer assistance will be provided by the Boy Scouts to locate names on the “Cost of Freedom Tribute” and materials will be available for rubbings of names engraved on the Tribute.
Programs will be held each evening at 7 p.m. at the Southeastern Career Center. On Thursday evening, July 19, veterans who served during World War II and Korea will be honored at a short program. On Friday evening , July 20, War on Terrorism, Gold Star Mothers and 911 victims’ families will be honored, as will be Ripley County police forces and firefighters.
On Saturday, July 21, the major event to honor Vietnam Veterans will be held at South Ripley High School Gym at 1 p.m. A wreath will be presented at the “Cost of Freedom Tribute” cite at 7 p.m. in honor of all Vietnam veterans. A Ride of Honor will depart from the Southeastern Career Center at 1 p.m. The Closing Ceremony will take place there at 3 p.m.
Both events are made possible by grants awarded by The Rising Sun Community Foundation, Inc., The Ripley County Community Foundation, Inc., a major donation From the Cpl. John C. Bishop Memorial Fund, and multiple contributions from Veterans Service Organizations, The Commissioners, Tourism Bureau, the Cities, Businesses and Citizens of Ripley County and Southeast Indiana.
For more information on the events or to volunteer your time or to make a donation, please contact chairman C. T. “Sugo” Castner at 812 689-7110 or 812 756-0828, find us on Facebook at Vietnam Veterans Tribute Committee or at the following website – www.ripleycounty.com/veteranservices/vietnamtribute.htm.
The Vietnam Veterans Tribute Committee, composed of representatives of all of Ripley County’s Veterans Service Organizations, invites all to come to the events and to take the time, after fifty years, to thank our Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans and to pay tribute to all Veterans and to those who have served our country and have made the ultimate sacrifice for the Cost of Freedom.
Here is a schedule of the week’s events:
Wednesday, July 18
AVTT Welcome Program – AVTT arrives with escort at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 19
Opening ceremony at 12:00 p.m.
Evening ceremony honoring World War II And Korean War Veterans at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, July 20
Morning ceremony at 8:00 a.m.
Evening ceremony honoring Afghanistan and Iraqi veterans, Afghanistan and Iraqi Gold Star Mothers, 911 victims, Ripley County firefighters and police at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 21
Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans Tribute at 1:00 p.m. at South Ripley High School Gymnasium, 1589 S. Benham Road, Versailles, Ind., honoring Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans who lived in Ripley County during the Vietnam War and those who currently live in Ripley County evening ceremony at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 22
Morning ceremony at 8:00 a.m.
Ride of Honor and closing ceremony at 3:00 p.m.