State Fair Parade Will Honor Vietnam Veterans

Updated: 08/22/2013 9:18 AM By: Mark Albert

It may have been five decades since a CIA paramilitary program was approved in Vietnam, a key action that escalated America's involvement, but for veteran Bob Laguban, 63, "I don't think it's ever too late to say 'thank you.'"

Laguban will be one of more than 1,000 veterans of that war to march in a first-of-its-kind parade at the State Fair. The parade, which will be announced later this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the conflict, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday beginning at the Leinie Lodge and concluding at Carousel Park.

"It's going to be a really, really powerful event," said Minnesota National Guard 2nd Lt. Melanie Nelson, who is helping to organize the parade.

"I envision hundreds, thousands of Minnesotans standing there, waving flags in support, waving hankies in support and honoring these Vietnam veterans with an applause like they've never heard before," Nelson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in an interview Wednesday.

Jerry Kyser is organizing a parade fly-over of vintage planes, carrying not just veteran pilots, but the delayed gratitude of so many.

"It's emotional," Kyser explained. "It's emotional every time we do one of these missing-man formation fly-overs. Because it does take away the bite that noboby cares."

Organizers are looking for more Vietnam veterans to take part. Those who wish to march in the parade should go to the Leinie Lodge before 10:25 a.m.

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