A special two-day event to recognize and honor New England's Vietnam veterans and remember those who did not return is set for Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the grounds of the Connecticut Air National Guard Base in East Granby. "Connecticut's Vietnam 50th Celebration Weekend" will feature many vehicle and aircraft displays, rare helicopter rides in the famous UH-1D "Huey," nationally renowned speakers and authors, and a Saturday 1 p.m. concert performed by the U.S. Coast Guard Band. Other static air displays will be at the New England Air Museum at 36 Perimeter Rd. in Windsor Locks.
"This event is open to everyone and is designed to educate a new generation about the Vietnam War and the part it played in the lives of our friends, relatives and neighbors whose stories are the building blocks of American History," explains Eileen Hurst, Celebration Chair.
]The event is sponsored by the Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project's Vietnam War Commemoration Committee. Collaborating partners include the Connecticut National Guard, Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs, and New England Air Museum.
Featured will be hands-on demonstrations, memorabilia, and a Veterans' Gathering tent where veterans can reunite and reconnect. There will static displays of a B-52, C-130, C-5, and other aircraft that include a CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Blackhawk, and an F-15 Fighter Jet. Attendees can get close-up looks at a variety of vehicles and equipment operated by our armed forces during the Vietnam War.
There also will be programs specifically designed to remember and honor those who gave the "last full measure of devotion". Exhibits featuring "Voices From Vietnam," photo displays of veterans who were Killed in Action (KIA) or Missing in Action (MIA), and a special exhibit featuring Gold Star Families.
All events and activities held at the Connecticut Air National Guard base are free. Admission to the New England Air Museum is free for all veterans; others pay $12 ($2 of each ticket benefits the Vietnam 50th weekend). For those interested, there will also be $100 donation American Huey 369 helicopter rides that must be scheduled and paid for on-site.
There is no parking on the Connecticut Air National Guard base. Free parking and shuttle bus transportation to the base will be at UTAS (Hamilton Sundstrand) at One Hamilton Rd. South in Windsor Locks. All attendees must go through a security check upon arrival at the base; special instructions and a list of approved items can be found at: http://www.ccsu.edu/vietnam/parking.html