Historical Stations

These historical stations will be participating at the event:

Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency will have one of their Service Officers who can answer questions and make follow up appointments in regards to benefits such as disability compensation, pension, aid & attendance, dependent indemnity compensation, etc.  The Agency will also be able to print DD214s (discharge paperwork) on site.

They will have informational papers on Vocational Rehabilitation, VA Healthcare, Employment Assistance, Homeless Programs, Education and other Community Resources. We will also have information about the two Veterans Homes we have in the State that are located in Grand Rapids and Marquette.

Click here for more information on the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

Michigan Traveling Memorial

In the Spring of 2005, the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge Air National Guard Base was preparing to host their bi-annual Military Air Show and Open House. The theme “A Tribute to Vietnam Veterans” was adopted and SSgt Kurt Damrow was given the task of coordinating events that wvva-memorial-2-resizedould support this theme. Kurt was told that the half-size replica of the memorial which travels nationwide, was scheduled in another state and would not be available for display. SSgt Damrow decided to create the “Michigan Vietnam Veteran Traveling Memorial” containing the 2,600+ names of Veterans from Michigan who were Killed in Action. Kurt was moved to create this special tribute in memory of his cousin, Navy GMG3 Oliver Damrow of Kinde, Michigan, who was killed shortly after his return to Vietnam for his second tour of duty. Oliver’s dedication to duty and to those with whom he served would not allow him to stay at home…not without his men…he returned to Vietnam. Oliver was killed in hostile fire on PBR-658 with Navy River Patrol Forces Task Force 116 at Phong Ding, South Vietnam, on June 11, 1967. Kurt has dedicated his efforts to the memory of Oliver and those who lost their lives from the Thumb area of Michigan.

Helping SSgt Damrow in creating the Michigan Wall was a friend and co-worker, John Swanson, who transformed the vision and provided the technical expertise that created the five panels you are seeing today. John is also a Vietnam Veteran who has taken great pride in creating this Memorial to his fellow soldiers and their families. Click here for more.

AI Vet Logo.jpg

American Indian Veterans of Michigan

American Indian Veterans of Michigan, Inc. was formed in late 2012, becoming a Michigan non-profit organization in March of 2013.

Our Mission Statement…

…to foster cultural preservation, maintain our cultural identity through social media and spiritual activities and to promote awareness of the historical contributions of American Indian veterans.

…we will reach out to all veterans without regard to tribal affiliation, degree of blood quantum, branch of the Armed Forces or combat status om assisting veterans with service, benefits, and/or entitlements…

We provide Color Guard for parades, civic functions, presentations and other appropriate requests.  We also provide Honor Guard for funeral services.

Part of our mission is to bring recognition to the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters Regiment – Company K.  Company K was an all American Indian unit recruited during the Civil War and served from 1861-1865.  There is a memorial at the Capitol in Lansing in regognition of their service.

The American Indian Veterans of Michigan, Inc. are committed to helping all veterans and their families, serving as role models for youth and providing a positive influence in the community.

RT Back

Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder will be opening the formal ceremony.  The major focus of Rolling Thunder®Inc. is to publicize the POW/MIA issue; to educate the public that many American Prisoners of War were left behind after all previous wars. To help correct the past and protect the future Veterans from being left behind should they become Prisoners oWar or Missing IAction.  They are also committed to helping Americans Veterans from all wars.

Opening Ceremony:  Rolling Thunder Chapter 5 Motorcycle Procession
(All motorcycles welcome to join procession)
Procession begins at precisely at NOON.

Kickstands down between 11:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Union Missionary Baptist Church
500 South Martin Luther King
Lansing, MI  48909


Michigan War Dog Memorial

Click here to view the Michigan War Dog Memorial video.
Click here to view the Michigan War Dog Memorial video.

The MWDM is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization operated and managed by a band of military veterans and K-9 supporters. We are an all volunteer force that has come together to restore an abandoned pet cemetery and convert it into a final resting place, with honors, for military dogs, police dogs and service dogs.

Our goal is to give these well trained and loyal K-9’s a final resting place with honors. It’s up to us to show respect for these brave and loyal K-9’s who risked their lives to protect and serve our country and communities.

Click here for more information about the Michigan War Dog Memorial.


Michigan Daughters of the American Revolution

The Michigan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will be offering a wreath presentation during the formal ceremony at the event.

The Auxiliary to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War will be hosting a station recognizing women in the military.





State Capitol Tours

State Capitol Tours will also be available throughout the day from 9 to 4 every ½ hour as space allows.  The afternoon tour times have been specially reserved for event attendees.




In Accordance With Public Law 110-181 SEC.598:

“The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration” is the official title given to the Department of Defense program in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and “in conducting the commemorative program, the Secretary shall coordinate, support, and facilitate other programs and activities of the Federal Government, State and local governments, and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War.”

The Secretary of Defense shall determine the schedule of major events and priority of efforts for the commemorative program, in order to ensure achievement of the objectives specified in Law.

Description of The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration Seal:

“The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration” is the official title given to the Department of Defense program in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

A representation of the Vietnam Service Medal (ribbon) rests below the inner rings of the Seal.

The red, white, and blue inner rings represent the flag of the United States of America and recognize all Americans, both military and civilian, who served or contributed to the Vietnam War effort.

The outer black ring serves as a reminder of those who were killed in action, held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War.  The black ring surrounds the red, white and blue rings to call attention to their sacrifices, the sacrifices of their families, and the defense of our nation’s freedom.

Within the blue ring are the words “Service, Valor, and Sacrifice”; virtues demonstrated by our veterans during the Vietnam War. The gold-rimmed white star located between the words “Service” and “Valor” represents hope for the families of those veterans for which there has not been a full accounting.  The blue-rimmed gold star located between the words “Valor” and “Sacrifice” represents the families of those veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the war.  The blue star at the bottom of the inner blue ring represents the families of all veterans and symbolizes their support from home.

booth set upAt the bottom of the inner blue ring are six white stars, three on each side of the blue star.  These six white stars symbolize the contributions and sacrifices made by the United States and its Allies Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Republic of Korea, and Thailand.

The center circle contains a map of Vietnam in black outline relief, signifying both the country and the Vietnamese veterans who stood with our veterans.  The subdued outlines of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and surrounding waters represent the area of operation where U.S. Armed Forces served.  The white number “50th” emblazoned over the map, and the outer and inner gold rings which make traditional use of the color to signify the 50th anniversary, symbolize the specific mission of the Department of Defense program as outlined in the Congressional language “to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.”

The green laurel wreath signifies honor for all who served.

The seal’s blue background is the same color as the canton in the United States Flag.

More information can be found here.

Kelly Marie Trudell

Kelly Marie Trudell is a professional singer-songwriter who has been performing for over 35 years.  Her Father and eight of his other 12 siblings have served our nation including three who had served tours in Vietnam.  Being an “Army Brat” she has seen first-hand the sacrifices our Men and Women have made to defend our way of life which is why she has devoted her life to honoring our Nations Heroes!

Kelly’s Music has been described as “Beyond Powerful, it Touches and Heals the Soul.” Kelly travels throughout the U.S singing for our wounded warriors.  She has visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center, The Homeless missions & Transition Home for Homeless Veterans in Chicago, Rolling Thunder Concert, in Washington DC, Bike Rally’s, Churches, and prisons.  Kelly’s music is her passion as well as her ministry.  Through her music venues and merchandise sales, Kelly has helped to raise over $45,000.00 for various charities.

Kelly was awarded The President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award for her dedication to our veterans and to our men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Kelly has sent over 10,000 CD’s to our men and women in uniform.  Her songs are often inspired by the people she meets, such as “The Sound of Hope” which was inspired by a Vietnam Veteran when he asked her to write a song about the Huey Medevac and its significance to our soldiers during the conflict.  Her efforts hit the mark and did our Medevac crew proud!

Kelly has also opened up for various artist such as The Bellamy Brothers, McBride and the Ride, Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees, Mitch Rider, Three Dog Night, Rare Earth and Nancy Sinatra to name a few.

Joanna Lauren

Joanna Lauren is known through out Michigan for her rendition of the American National Anthem. She has been singing she was a very little girl, graced with natural talent at a young age. Joanna currently is developing a song in Nashville for radio submission with famous children story book writer Peggy Mercer. Among singing Joanna is an engineering student at Western Michigan University whom also enjoys acting, modeling, painting, and writing. Her interests have lead her to work with numerous directors, photographers and bands in Michigan.  Joanna loves to volunteer for charity events using her passion to help others in need. She has sung for children hospitals, hunger fundraisers, muscular dystrophy fun raisers and special needs children awareness. Joanna is very excited to have the opportunity to perform the National Anthem for our Vietnam War veterans.

“It is an honor to sing the National Anthem to celebrate our Vietnam war Veterans and give them the thank you they deserve for their sacrifice! My father is a Vietnam war veteran so this event holds a very special place in my heart.”- Joanna Lauren

A Tribute to Vietnam Veterans Featuring the Voice of Mr. Sam Elliott

foggPaisley Fogg

Start with the 3-guitar front line of brothers Dave, Keith and Tom Birchler, add the solid rhythm section of Tommy Anderson on drums and Ronny Graham on bass, toss in a little “Janis and Grace” from Dawn Davis and what you get is The Paisley Fogg.

The past 10 years have taken Paisley Fogg from a basement in Bay City to the Dream Cruise, via fundraising for needy children and touring small town Michigan summer festivals.

A little bit of British Invasion, a dose of American Psychedelia and a whole lot of Folk Rock’s 3-part harmony is what has kept the audiences engaged with these 6 best friends.

“We feel honored to have been asked to perform at this tribute to Michigan’s Vietnam era veterans.” Says Tom Birchler. “ Myself, my brothers Dave and Keith and our bassist Ronny all received draft numbers. It was a scary time for us. We had classmates who paid the ultimate price in Vietnam. We owe endless thanks to all who served especially those who were drafted.”

“We are Michigan’s most authentic Sixties rock band.  Our members have seen the Beatles and The Rolling Stones on their very first tours of America. How many people can say they saw the Who perform live at Southfield High School? We have band members who have performed on stage at the fabled Grande Ballroom.  I played lead guitar of with Motown’s Rare Earth. We use the authentic instruments and amplifiers that were used when these songs were recorded. We capture the sound and the feel of the greatest era rock has ever known. We don’t just play this music, we lived it.”