CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWTI) — Hundreds gathered in Carthage on March 30 to make history by honoring Vietnam War Veterans in the North Country. This was held the day after the Nationally-celebrated Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29.
Hosted by the American Legion Carthage Bassett Baxter Post 789 and Lowville Post 162 a formal ceremony was held at the Catholic Church in Carthage. Many gathered in honor of Veterans, their families, along with community leaders and dozens of soldiers from Fort Drum.
Most importantly the ceremony honored all Vietnam-era Veterans, emphasizing the sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, as well as a reminder that many soldiers never received the proper “welcome home.”
Further speaking to this was Jane Reape, whose husband, Jim Reape, was a Vietnam Veteran and endured aggressive and violent responses when returning to the United States after serving in Vietnam.
“I’m sorry what my country did to you, you Vietnam heroes,” Reape expressed. “There were no cheering crowds with signs welcoming you home, or thanking you for your service. I only wish Jim could be here to receive the welcome home he deserved.”
To extend what was considered a “long overdue” thank you, Veterans were addressed by Fort Drum 10th Combat Aviation Brigade Commander Colonel Travis L. McIntosh. Col. McIntosh spoke about how he looked up to Vietnam Veterans growing up and how they shaped the future of military aviation.
“Your generation taught us to be strong, to take hits and continue our mission and defend our nation, ” Col. McIntosh said to the Veterans. “We thank you for your service, we thank you for raising us. For reminding us that America is worth fighting for.
Fort Drum leaders also noted how the ceremony served as much more than a history lesson for younger soldiers in attendance.
“I truly hope that [the current soldiers] see that the generation of Vietnam-era veterans have a lot to share, and we have a lot to learn and maybe taking a little bit of time to study and know-how to ask questions about the war and how to ask questions,” Col. McIntosh added.
Combat Aviation Brigade 1-10 Attack Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Phillip B. Cain also noted how soldiers in his Battalion were eager to volunteer for the event to give back to the Veterans,
“You can see even the young ones down to the lieutenants and the young privates are interested in being here, interested in meeting some of these people that they’ve read so much about,” Lt. Col. Cain shared. “We’re eager to do it for years to come.”
Following remarks from McIntosh and local leaders, over 100 Vietnam War veterans were honored individually as their names were called out and those attending were asked to stand. Each Veteran or their family member was given several awards, including a token of appreciation which was distributed by soldiers from Fort Drum.
And many shared, this celebration of honor will only continue for years to come to continue to thank these Veterans and their families for their service. American Legion Carthage Bassett Baxter Post 789 Commander Dr. Janice Gravely reflected upon the conclusion of the ceremony to share her gratitude for the Veterans and the North Country community at large.
“I am so thankful that we’ve had the opportunity to welcome [the Veteran] home,” Gravely said. “And let them know that we appreciate what they did on behalf of a grateful nation.” By Presidential Proclamation, The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration will continue through Veterans Day, November 11, 2025.