Nanticoke, September 24, 2016 – State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) joined other state and local officials this morning at a special ceremony to honor more than sixty veterans of the Vietnam War and commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the War.
The ceremony, which was held in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs recognized each veteran and presented them with a Vietnam Veteran Lapel pin.
A 50th anniversary commemorative plaque honoring local veterans of the Vietnam War was also unveiled on the Luzerne County Community College Walk of Honor in Nanticoke.
“We stand here today to participate in a long overdue national ceremony to pay tribute to Vietnam Veterans who served their nation with honor and distinction,” said Senator Yudichak. “Like many veterans, they do not seek recognition or accolades, but the veterans of the Vietnam War most certainly deserve it.”
In 2008, an act of Congress, the National Defense Authorization Act empowered the Department of Defense to facilitate commemorative programs across America to honor and thank the more than 9 million veterans who served on active duty during the Vietnam War between 1955 and 1975.
In Luzerne County, more than 11,000 men and women served in Vietnam. The Luzerne County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Monument lists 83 servicemen and women who were killed during the war and 6 servicemen listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.
Steve Biernacki, a decorated Vietnam Veteran from Ashley, who earned (2) Bronze Stars, (2) Army Commendation Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Vietnam Service Medal was one of the veterans recognized during the ceremony.
“I have never heard Steve dwell on his accomplishments…he served his country and he performed his duty,” said Senator Yudichak. “It’s that simple. Steve’s thoughts, and his heart, remains not with the medals he has earned, but with his brothers in arms. Those who served with him …and the millions more who have answered the call of their nation in a time of war.”
Thomas Leary, President of Luzerne County Community College, and James Spagnola, Director of the Luzerne County Veterans Affairs Office also offered remarks.
State Representatives Gerald Mullery (D-119th), Eddie Day Pashinski (D-121st), Aaron Kaufer (R-120th) and Nicholas Gilliland, CSM, PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs also participated in the ceremony.