Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs pays homage to Vietnam veterans

Vandy Manyeh, News Reporter

It is about 50 years since the fall of Saigon, but the celebration of the gallant men and women who fought to defend the values of the United States of America is still being heralded. Organized by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, on April 25, 2017, the College of DuPage hosted over 200 Vietnam veterans at the Jim Belushi theater to celebrate 50 years of service to America.

The East Aurora High School Navy JROTC performed the posting of colors, the Lincoln Challenge Academy Cadets honored fallen and missing soldiers during a missing man table and honor ceremony, while students Erick Flores and Jacob Nikolas sang the National Anthem and “God bless America” along with everyone in attendance.

“Fifty years later, we are here today with your 50th commemoration of our war in Vietnam,” said Harry Sawyer, assistant director of Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “We honor each of those names etched in the stone in the Vietnam wall in Washington D.C., 58,282 American patriots. We salute all those who served with them. We stand with their families who love them still.”

For COD President Ann Rondeau, it was a time to honor these veterans and also reminisce her faithful service to the U.S. Navy.

“I joined the Navy just around the end of the war,” said Rondeau. “I was stationed in Hawaii and was part of the command center that had to oversee the extraction of people from Saigon. That was a tough place to be.”

For more information about events related to the 50th-anniversary celebrations, visit: