Members of the public are invited to honor New England Vietnam veterans and remember the fallen at a two-day event in East Granby starting today.
Connecticut's Vietnam 50th Celebration Weekend is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base in East Granby from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This event 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,” Eileen Hurst, chair of the Vietnam 50th, said in a statement. “It is open to everyone – Vietnam veterans, veterans’ friends or families, and anyone who wants to come recognize the sacrifices made by our veterans.”
Veterans can mingle and reconnect with each other at a special Veterans' Gathering tend.
There will also be static air displays of a B-52, C-130 and other aircrafts like the CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Blackhawk and F-15 Fighter Jet in Windsor Locks at the New England Air Museum at 36 Perimeter Road, according to a news release about the event.
The public will also be able to view vehicle and aircraft displays, see hands-on demonstrations, look at war memorabilia, take rides on the UH-1D American Huey 369 helicopter, hear nationally renowned speakers and authors address the crowds and enjoy the music of the United States Coast Guard band. The 55-piece ensemble based at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New is the "premier band representing the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security" is on Saturday, July 11 at 1 p.m.
Anyone who signs up to become a member of American Huey 369 for $100 can get a complimentary ride on the helicopter. Huey helicopter rides will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days of the event. Otherwise, rides can be scheduled and paid for on-site at the cost of $100.
People can also view "Voices From Vietnam" and Gold Star Families exhibits, look at photos of veterans killed in action or listed as missing in action and attend programs honoring soldiers who gave "the last full measure of devotion," according to the news release.
Events and activities at the Connecticut Air National Guard base are free with the exception of the helicopter rides. The New England Air Museum offers free admission to veterans and costs $12 for everyone else. $2 from every ticket sold will benefit the Vietnam 50th event.
Shuttles will be available to transport people from UTAS (Hamilton Sundstrand) at 1 Hamilton Rd. South in Windsor Locks because there is no parking available at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base nor the New England Air Business. The public will go through a security checkpoint at the base. More information on parking and security are available on the event website.
Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project's Vietnam War Commemoration Committee sponsors the event in collaboration with the Connecticut National Guard, Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs and the New England Air Museum.