The dedication ceremony will be held at noon on March 29, which is Vietnam Veterans Day. The monument will be installed at Barnegat’s Gazebo Park at the corner of Route 9 and West Bay Avenue.
The monument is a “thank you” to the men and women who served in the armed forces in Vietnam, paid for entirely by a Vietnamese refugee and her husband, Thy and James Cavagnaro. She was a year old when her family fled in 1975.
She said she decided to give back by funding the creation of this monument, and by hosting regular “thank you” dinners for small groups of Vietnam veterans in town. Thy Cavagnaro said she does not solicit or accept donations for this.
“We would love for as many people to attend as possible, to show our Vietnam veterans how much they’re supported and appreciated. They are the true VIPs of our event,” she said.
There will be many guests in attendance, such as:
- The keynote speaker, Jonathan T. Gilliam, has a military background with various groups, and appears as a commentator on Fox News and other venues.
- The national anthem will be sung by Ron Brooks, “an east coast legend, having performed with Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen,” who has sung the song at professional sporting events. He is the first double amputee Eagle Scout, and a representative of George H. W. Bush’s a thousand “Points of Light.”
- The bugler, Josh Lathrop, is also an Eagle Scout, and an Army Specialist.
- The Exercise Tiger Association will be partners in the event to provide official commemorative pins and other gifts for Vietnam veterans. Their National Executive Director, Susan Haines, is flying in from Missouri for our event.
- Huy Nguyen, the president of the Vietnamese American Community of South Florida, and the architect and sculptor of the Vietnam War Memorial in Orlando, FL.
Dr. Hung Nguyen, the president of the NJ Vietnamese American Community Association.
After the ceremony, there will be a celebration hosted by the Barnegat American Legion Post No. 232.
If you go:
When: March 29, noon
Where: Gazebo Park in Barnegat, the intersection of Route 9 and West Bay Avenue.