Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty addresses Vietnam war veterans during a Nov. 10 Veterans Day ceremony in Redmond. Aaron Kunkler/Redmond Reporter

Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty addresses Vietnam war veterans during a Nov. 10 Veterans Day ceremony in Redmond. Aaron Kunkler/Redmond Reporter

DelBene, military honor Vietnam veterans in Redmond ceremony

Some 60 Vietnam War veterans gathered Friday at the Redmond Veterans of Foreign Wars post to be honored by Rep. Suzan DelBene and fellow service members.

The ceremony was part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ 50-year commemoration of the Vietnam War, which saw more than 2.7 million Americans serve.

“Thank you for your service to our nation, we salute you,” DelBene said to the crowd, many of whom were veterans wearing service hats.

Other speakers included Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, who commands the state’s Army and Air National Guard forces.

Growing up, Daugherty said he saw images of soldiers returning from the war.

Veterans Day is an opportunity to thank soldiers and celebrate those who survived wars and conflicts, he said.

“I believe that we owe a special thanks to those of you that served in the Vietnam War,” he said.

Only 6 percent of Americans are veterans, Daugherty said.

Soldiers don’t choose to go to war, but Daugherty said they answer the call of duty.

“America is protected by ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things with their lives,” he said.

Even after their time with the military, Daugherty said their service continues by being active citizens and participants in society.

Francisco F. Ivarra, president of the Washington State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, addressed the crowd.

Ivarra said he recently talked with an author who was documenting the stories of Vietnam veterans to be housed in the Library of Congress.

He said this, along with other recognition, is important to him and other veterans of the war.

“We did our part, we did what we were asked to do and we didn’t say no,” Ivarra said.

His organization has made inroads for veterans by helping them get services and access to help and assistance over past decades.

The final speaker, Dr. Bill Couser, a Vietnam veteran who received a Purple Heart, said there were acts of heroism made by ordinary Americans all throughout the war.

“We took care of ourselves, we took care of each other,” he said.

Following the speakers, Ivarra called the names of the veterans in the crowd as they were presented with commemorative medals for their time in Vietnam.

After the ceremony, DelBene again thanked the veterans for their service, and said one veteran in the ceremony said this was only the second time anyone had thanked them for it.

The Vietnam War started in 1955 after decades of the country being colonized by various countries and partitioned, beginning with the French Empire in the mid and late 1800s.

By the late 1960s, America became heavily involved in the war in opposition to the forces in North Vietnam, which wanted to unify the country under a communist system.

More than 58,000 Americans were killed in the conflict, as well as millions more combatants and civilians on both sides.

The war faced backlash in the U.S. and many American soldiers who returned faced social stigma.

According to the Vietnam Veterans of America website, when soldiers returned from Vietnam, the U.S. government did not make taking care of them a priority.

This didn’t begin to change until 1978, when a group of veteran activists formed the organization and began petitioning Congress for funding, services and recognition.

There are more than 200,000 veterans in Washington state who served in the Vietnam war.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Washington scrambles to boost supply of life-saving protective items for healthcare workers

State officials say they had to be “creative” to obtain protective equipment in global demand.

Gov. Jay Inslee discusses the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s response during a press conference on Thursday, March 26. Screenshot
Inslee: Stay-at-home orders must continue to completely eliminate COVID-19

Slight decrease in rate of new coronavirus cases, but residents must continue to hunker down.

At St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw, a patient is taken from an ambulance through a small door marked “decontamination” on March 23. It was unclear whether the patient was suspected of being infected with COVID-19. (Photo by Ray Miller-Still/Sound Publishing)
King County releases breakdown data of COVID-19 cases, deaths

Washington’s virus-related death toll surpasses 129 as of Wednesday, March 25.

Former Kent pro soccer team owner to face Kirkland rape charge

Dion Earl extradited from Arizona while doing time for sexual assault

Margaret Hansen works at the counter at Brick & Mortar Books in Redmond Town Center. Photo courtesy of Brick & Mortar Books
Redmond’s Brick & Mortar Books’ story takes a pause

Co-owner Dan Ullom said, “right now [Inslee] is effectively asking people to sacrifice for the greater good.”

Entrance to the Tukwila Library branch of the King County Library System on March 17. KCLS announced March 13 that it would be closed until April at earliest in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Mitchell Atencio/staff photo
KCLS pivots to digital during coronavirus pandemic

KCLS is dedicating more time and content to digital services while unable to open its physical locations.

King County suspends work release program

Effort taken to reduce jail population for safety of everyone during COVID-19 pandemic

Redmond City Hall. File photo
Redmond City Hall to remain closed through April 30

The building will remain closed unless an earlier date is possible.

Most Read