Vietnam vet to emcee Memorial Day celebration |

Vietnam vet to emcee Memorial Day celebration

Van Bogardus remembers that when he returned from Vietnam in February of 1970, he and his fellow veterans came home to much less than a hero’s welcome.

That’s just one of several reasons the 58-year-old veteran of the United States Marine Corps. is happy to grab the microphone and serve as emcee of the annual Memorial Day celebration at Memorial Park in Grass Valley.

“From my perspective as a Vietnam veteran, there were lots of veterans that were not treated very well,” Bogardus said. “We really to thank the military veterans. These are men and women who answered a call to service. And that call is a very strong one.

“It’s just taking a brief moment to recognize those who are still with us and to remember those who have moved on and what they did for us.”

On Monday, a pair of services will recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice. At 9 a.m., a ceremony hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars will take place at Pioneer Park in Nevada City, where guest speakers will be followed by a dedication of a wreath.

At 10 a.m. at Memorial Park, Bogardus will welcome those on hand to celebrate Nevada County’s veterans of all branches of service.

“They all say I’ve got a big mouth and I know how to use it,” Bogardus said. “We like to rag on each other with inner service jokes, but we do get along real well.”

Wilma Meyers of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary, Post 130, will open the ceremony with a rendition of “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae.

Shortly thereafter, the American Legion Post 130 Color Guard will present and post the colors, followed by the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem and an invocation.

After the introductions of veteran organizations and distinguished guests, Samantha Stevenson, a Magnolia Middle School student, will read her award-winning patriotic essay titled “How I would increase patriotism in America.”

Stevenson will be followed by the event’s keynote speaker, District III Supervisor John Spencer, a 1968 U.S. Army veteran who also served in Vietnam.

The Nevada Union High School choir, with Rod Baggett directing, will perform “God Bless America,” followed by a Memorial Day message delivered by Bogardus.

The ceremony will conclude with a rifle salute and the playing of taps.

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