March 30 was a wonderful day to honor Vietnam veterans, and all who served with valor, sacrifice, and service.
The Blue Springs Chapter DAR, and the City of Blue Springs, supported by the Blue Springs School District, the Blue Springs Parks and Recreation, Police Department, Public Art Commission, Sons of the American Revolution, VFW Post 6603 Color Guard, American Legion Post 499, and other area sponsors, joined to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day in Blue Springs in recognition of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam on March 29, 1973.
James Lewis Elementary School student council members led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States, and students from Blue Springs South High School Jazz Band, Doug Padgett, Conductor, and JROTC Cadets from Blue Springs High School, directed by Col. Rich Yule, participated in the program by performing patriotic music and an outstanding drill team exercise.
The program included the presentation of eight honorarium/Memorial Plaques honoring those who served, dedicated by several groups and individuals, to be permanently placed along the Veterans Way Memorial pathway near one of the redbud trees.
The prestigious National DAR Founders Medal for Patriotism was presented to retired Col. Don "Doc" Ballard (USMC), by Linda Sehrt, a descendant of NSDAR Founder Ellen Hardin Walworth, and DAR Missouri State Regent Susan Bowman, both are members of the Independence Pioneers Chapter DAR.
The guest speaker, Mr. Chuck Lear, (USMC), Vietnam Veterans of America Veterans Services Officer, a double amputee from Vietnam, and retired C.P.A., spoke from his heart, thanking all who served, with a reminder that not just those who served in Vietnam, but military units stationed all around the world, responded to the call. His words were very poignant and meaningful to all of the veterans, and offered insight from a soldier's perspective.
As one of the Missouri State Society DAR goals for the current administration, chapters throughout the state of Missouri were encouraged to create a "Quilt of Valor," to present to a veteran of their choice. One of the highlights of the event was the beautiful hand-quilted "Quilt of Valor" that was presented by the Blue Springs Chapter DAR to The Honorable Carson Ross, U.S. Army veteran, who served in the TET Offensive during the Vietnam War. The Quilt will be registered with the national Quilts of Valor program, whose mission “is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor."
Although storm clouds and misty weather threatened the day, the spirit and commitment of the event was not dampened as approximately 250 people gathered at the Veterans Way Memorial, in Pink Hill Park.