Two veterans observances this weekend

Vietnam Peace Accord ceremony January 28, 4 Chaplains Sunday ceremony January 29

Branson Veterans Task Force will recognize the Vietnam Peace Accord and Four Chaplains Sunday in two separate ceremonies this weekend.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, the annual ceremony for the Vietnam Peace Accord will be held at 11 a.m. at Golden Corral, 3551 Shepherd of the Hills Expressway, Branson. The event will be held outdoors, weather permitting, according to Tom Goldsworthy, vice chairman of the board of directors of the Branson Veterans Task Force.

Goldsworthy is serving as the speaker. The ceremony will include the toll of the bell and posting of the Colors. A special invitation is issued to the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 913 of Branson to attend.

“Branson Veterans Task Force annually sponsors a moving ceremony which marks the day in 1973 when America’s longest and most controversial war came to an end,” said Goldsworthy. “The headlines of that day called Vietnam America’s longest war. The accord was signed in Paris at two separate signing ceremonies. Branson Veterans Task Force is big on events and big on making veterans feel appreciated and welcomed. All are welcome to attend this ceremony. Admission to the ceremony is free.”

Inspired by the heroic deed of the four chaplains recognized by Four Chaplains Sunday, the Branson Veterans Task Force marks the anniversary of their sacrifice each year with a special service. This year the ceremony will be held Sunday, Jan. 29, at 1:30 p.m. at the College of the Ozarks Williams Memorial Chapel.

“The ceremony is open to the public and is especially important during this time when American soldiers are serving around the world,” said Dr. Dale Smith, chairman of the board of the Branson Veterans Task Force.

The four chaplains, Chaplains George L. Fox (Methodist), Alexander D. Goode (Jewish), Clark V. Poling (Reformed Church), and John P. Washington (Catholic), are credited with saving more than 200 lives when they gave up their life jackets and their lives when the United States Army Transport (USAT) Dorchester was sunk. A German submarine sank it on Feb. 3, 1943 only 15 miles from its destination in Greenland. The four calmly issued life-belts to American servicemen aboard the troop transport after it was torpedoed. When the supply of life preservers was exhausted, the four chaplains removed their own life belts and gave them to four soldiers. They then stood on the sinking ship, arms around one another’s shoulders and their heads bowed in prayer.

The Branson Veterans Task Force works to promote an environment of patriotic pride and dignity to recognize and honor our Nation’s veterans and their families. This is just two of the many happenings the non-profit group sponsors, the largest of which is Veterans Homecoming held during Veterans Week in November. For more information contact: Branson Veterans Task Force Inc., 138 Pointe Royale Drive Suite 0 (The Helms Building), Branson, MO 65615 or call 417-337-VETS.

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