This is it, friend readers, your last chance to mark your calendar for a big event happening at a library near you. Or, near us.
This is Veterans Salute column #3, known simply as VS#3. VS#1 was in late August so readers who cared to attend could mark their calendar. VS#2 was in late September, and in it I lamented the fact that not one person I asked about VS31 had read, or remembered, it.
But last week a reader said "See you in Smithville on Oct. 20, John." Hallelujah! At least one reader had read, and remembered, VS#2. This column is your last chance, as the 2012 Veterans Salute happens next Saturday.
It's a bit farther from Leavenworth than the last three Salutes that were in Platte City, but it's only about eight miles and takes less than 15 minutes. Unless you get behind the guy in the old pickup I got behind leaving Platte City, then it's more like 30 minutes.
For history lovers and those who like to meet veterans from our recent wars, however long it takes to get to the Mid-Continent Public Library in Smithville, it will be worth the drive and the time. This is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MAC-V), which makes the theme of the day-long event the Vietnam War.
Everything associated with the day is free, from parking to all events to looking at the more than 50 tables of historical displays inside the library. Outside will be vintage vehicles of various types, most of which were used in the Vietnam War.
Even here the week before we don't know if any Vietnam War re-enactors will be there dressed in period uniforms. They were invited months ago, but haven't responded to email. Since all work at day jobs in the greater Kansas City area, I'm sure they are busy.
A key event will be from 10:30 to 11:30 inside the library, a veterans panel with hopefully 10 Vietnam veterans sharing some of their experiences in the "far off Asian war," as one period song called it. Vintage radios inside the library will play soft period music all day.
Several panel members will be from the Leavenworth area. Of six area vets who were invited to be on the panel, three will be, two will be out of town, and one said he wasn't interested. Of the three who plan to be there, one was Army, one Marine Corps, and one Air Force.
Oh yes, how to get there. Thank goodness for the Centennial Bridge work being finished, which will save even more time. Go east on Highway 92, through Platte City, cross over I-29, still on 92 (watch for the old guy in the beat-up pickup!), go east another eight or so miles to a traffic light at the intersection with Highway 169, turn left (north), and the library is about a half mile up on the right.
Page 2 of 2 - The address for those addicted to GPS is 120 Richardson Street, Smithville, Mo., 64089. Should a direction-challenged one among you get challenged, call 816- 532-0116 to be vectored in.
As was mentioned in VS#2, there is a group of former South Vietnamese military personnel in the Kansas City area and all have been invited. They wear their vintage colorful camouflaged uniforms with appropriate beret, and will add an interesting touch to the events. The planning committee has no confirmation of how many will be there, but we hope several will attend.
So now, in this last reminder, you have all details necessary to go east for a most interesting and hopefully enjoyable day. Of the three Vietnam era Medal of Honor recipients in the area, one has said he plans to be there. If he is there, he'll moderate the 10:30 panel. I for one sure hope he shows up, as I'm on the hook as the backup moderator.
Veterans from other wars and conflicts will also be there, not just Vietnam veterans. Hope to see you there. It ends at 4 p.m. so you can make it back for "Haunted Havens." What a day.
John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.