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Vietnam veterans ceremony to be held Saturday in Norwich

Norwich — The annual Vietnam veterans commemoration ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Chelsea Parade green at the junction of Washington Street and Broadway.

The event, sponsored by the Norwich Area Veterans Council and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter No. 270, will be held rain or shine and is open to the public. Mask-wearing and social distancing are required.

Paul Salisbury of Plainfield will sing the national anthem, and U.S. Navy veteran and past-NAVC President John Waggoner will serve as the master of ceremonies. Waggoner will present a retrospective of the turbulent time in U.S. history when "welcome home" and "thanks for your service" were unknown expressions to those who had served.

Guest speakers will include Father Phil Salois, national chaplain of Vietnam veterans, who has 45 years of exposure to combat stress, beginning with his own six-year experience as a draftee in Vietnam prior to entering the priesthood, during which he received the Silver Star for his heroism in combat, and Vietnam veteran retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Gerry Wright, a survivor of Agent Orange exposure and a tireless advocate for Agent Orange victims and the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act.

Wright has spearheaded the movement to establish a memorial monument in Andover dedicated to Agent Orange victims, and his Facebook page "Sprayed And Betrayed AO" continues to keep the topic in the public eye.

Vietnam-era U.S. Marine Corps. veteran Tom Callinan, former Connecticut state troubadour, will perform two original songs: "Some Gave All, All Gave Some" and "Thank A Vet," and Vietnam-era U.S. Navy veteran retired Lt. Commander Joyce Harris will play taps.

For further information, contact Waggoner at (860) 608-0472 or johnewaggoner@yahoo.com.

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