Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Vietnam veterans honored during ceremony in Farmington

FARMINGTON — Navy veteran Vincent Prespentt stood as his daughter, Stacey Prespentt, fastened to his jacket the lapel pin that commemorates his service during the Vietnam War period.

The Farmington resident was among dozens of Vietnam veterans whose military service was thanked and honored – actions that several presenters said was overdue – on National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29.

The Desert Gold Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held the ceremony to mark the 5th anniversary of the day at Vietnam Veterans Park in Farmington.

“DAR is always pleased to recognize the heroes of America, who are the veterans, who were willing to answer a call to serve,” said Charlotte Herbert, the chapter’s regent.

Stacey Prespentt, right, fastens the lapel pin given to her father, Vincent Prespentt, for his service in the Navy during the Vietnam era on March 29 at the National Vietnam War Veterans Day at the Vietnam Veterans Park in Farmington.

Each veteran received a pin when they arrived at the event, which was later attached by a family member or friend.

DAR member Melynda Brenton explained that the pin’s design includes an eagle to represent courage, honor and dedicated service to the nation while the color of blue matches the canton of the American flag and signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.

For Vietnam veterans like Don Chitty, it took decades for him to attend this type of event because he remembered how he was treated when he came home.

More:Farmington, Shiprock events to recognize National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Larry Huchel, who served in the Marines from 1968 to 1970, receives a hug on March 29 during the National Vietnam War Veterans Day at the Vietnam Veterans Park in Farmington.

“I came back not in my dress blues, marching in some veteran’s parade. I came back in a stretcher,” Chitty said. “My hero’s welcome back to America was, they burned the American flag and broke a six-inch rod and broke glass in my face.”

He said he decided to speak at the event after being asked by the DAR because recognizing Vietnam veterans is rightful.

More:World War II, Korean War veteran honored in ceremony at San Juan College

“We are happy to honor you today,” said Diane Halvorson, the DAR chapter’s honorary state regent.

The event included presentation of colors, singing of the national anthem and readings of the Pledge of Alliance and the preamble to the Constitution.

Members of the Farmington High School Windsong Choir sing

Aztec Mayor Mike Padilla Sr., who is a Vietnam veteran, read the proclamation issued by the Aztec City Commission in honor of the veterans.

The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President stated that tribal President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer issued a proclamation in honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Julio Garcia, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2182, plays taps at the National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29 at the Vietnam Veterans Park in Farmington.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. You can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at [email protected]

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