Unprecedented Book and Documentary Gift for All 47,000 Utah Vietnam Veterans During 50th Commemoration

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2016-2017 peak years of the Vietnam 50th Commemoration; Message from President of the United States, and Governor of Utah; Stories of service, duty and sacrifice representing all states and Services

An unprecedented commemorative gift of a hardbound book, feature documentary, and interactive eBook will be presented to all of Utah’s 47,000 Vietnam Veterans during the peak 50th Commemoration years of 2016-2017 in recognition of their service, duty, and sacrifice. The first-edition commemorative gift will also be presented to all members of the United States Congress and the White House.

The commemorative gift includes:

  • A 160-page hardbound book, A Time to Honor: Stories of Service, Duty, and Sacrifice. The book is an original collection of stories from all states and Services, mostly discovered in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The managing editor is Colonel (ret) Ray Bluhm, author of A Chronology of the Vietnam War (through the Army Historical Foundation). The Foreword section of the book includes:
  • Message from the president of the United States
  • Message from Governor Gary Herbert
  • Message from Gary Harter, Executive Director, Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs
  • A feature documentary on DVD, The Journey Home. The film was co-produced with GoFilms (Saints and Soldiers, The Saratov Approach, Freetown) and shot on location in Northern California, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. It is a story of duty, sacrifice, heartbreak, love of country, forgiveness, and healing.

Both the book and documentary are free gifts to Utah’s Vietnam veterans. For more information about these gifts as well as ceremonies taking place throughout the state in 2016, please visit vietnam50gift.com (the website goes “live” on March 29) and click on Utah on the interactive map. If you are a Vietnam veteran and are unable to attend any of the events, please call 801-326-2372 or email veterans(at)utah(dot)gov and these gifts will be delivered to your home by a Questar volunteer or other partner.

The invitation-only premiere of the documentary The Journey Home will be held March 31, 4 p.m., at the Megaplex Jordan Commons theater in Sandy. For media access, please contact Rebecca Thomas: info(at)remembermyservice(dot)com . See below for additional public events.

The gift—presented by the State of Utah—will be distributed at events throughout the state during 2016 (schedule development is in progress). “What cannot be forgotten is the sacrifice of those who bravely served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War,” notes Gary Harter, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs. “On behalf of the state, we are eager to recognize every single Vietnam Veteran within our state borders. Throughout the year, we will host free events and present this gift as an opportunity for us to simply say how grateful we are they were willing to answer the call of duty, and we are profoundly mindful of the great sacrifices that were made during that long and tragic time.”

As Utah State President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Dennis Howland knows firsthand the impact this gift will have on Utah’s Vietnam Veterans. “From my view as a Vietnam Combat Marine, this documentary and book presented to all Vietnam Veterans across Utah is a gift of honor and understanding,” he explains. “It’s been a long, lonely, and tough journey for a lot of Vietnam vets. The words ‘thank you’ are something that took 45 years or better for some of us to hear.”

The State of Utah, Miller Family Philanthropy, Merit Medical, and Questar Corporation sponsored this gift. “Our greatest regret as a state may be the missed opportunities to honor Utah’s returning veterans from Vietnam five decades ago,” says Gail Miller, co-founder of the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation and a passionate supporter of veterans. “Those brave men and women risked their lives doing what their country asked them to do. The war was not their fault, but they were treated terribly when they came home.”

“The Vietnam War Veteran is a part of all our communities,” notes Fred Lampropoulos, CEO of Merit Medical Systems in Salt Lake City. “These vets are loyal workers, entrepreneurs, and employers. They raise families, build businesses, and lead by example. They are a part of us. With the Vietnam War now 50 years behind us, it is time to look back with appreciation for our own Utah veterans from this conflict. We recognize you for your efforts, your service, and your sacrifices during that time until now.”

Ron Jibson, CEO of Questar Corporation, explains why he immediately decided to support the project: “Many who served in Vietnam paid the ultimate price for their fellow citizens. Others suffered long-term effects and illnesses they still struggle with today. Unlike troops of other wars, Vietnam Veterans were not given the accolades they rightfully deserved. All veterans should be commended for serving our country with valor.”

Utah is the first state to provide the gift, produced by Remember My Service (RMS) Productions in partnership with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Naval Historical Foundation, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, in collaboration with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The initial production of the book and documentary was fully funded by Founding Partners/Executive Producers Al & Kathleen Gardner and Joe & Kathleen Sorenson.

RMS is currently working with other states for similar editions. “This unprecedented gift will provide a national and state-specific strategic communications platform to express gratitude and respect to Vietnam Veterans in a format they can easily share with children and grandchildren,” explains RMS President/Executive Producer Sharlene Hawkes. “This is an heirloom gift that families will preserve and cherish as it encourages dialogue and understanding about their loved one’s service during Vietnam.”

Calendar of Events for Vietnam Veterans and the Public (Hosted by Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs)
March 29    2:00 PM Capitol Rotunda Ceremony
March 29    6:30 PM Layton VFW Post 8307 Dinner
March 30    6:00 PM Utah County Historic Court House, Provo Ceremony
April 2 6:00 PM Davis Central Jr. High School Ceremony
April 9 6:00 PM VFW Post 1481 Ogden Ceremony

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Sharlene Hawkes
Remember My Service Productions
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