State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) on Wednesday hosted a ceremony honoring the veterans who served our country during the Vietnam War era. Attending the event, which was held at VFW Post 813, 114 Fuller St., DuBois, were 126 veterans and their guests.
“It is incredibly important to take time to thank the many veterans who have served our country,” Gabler said. “The sacrifices these brave men and women have made allow us to live the lives we lead and enjoy the freedoms we share as Americans.”
Among those in attendance were U.S. Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-5) and state Sen. Bob Robbins (R-50), the program’s guest speaker who completed two tours of duty in Vietnam and received numerous medals for his service.
Gabler also announced during the ceremony his sponsorship of legislation to recognize veterans who were exposed to the chemical defoliant known as Agent Orange during their time of service in the Vietnam War Era.
“My bill designates October 2012, as ‘Agent Orange Recognition Month’ in Pennsylvania,” Gabler said. “Approximately 500,000 Pennsylvanians served during the Vietnam War Era, with many of them being exposed to this chemical compound while in service to our country. We must not forget the great debt we owe to veterans whose sacrifice only began during wartime, yet has continued since their return home with pain and health complications that continue to this day.”
More than 170,000 Pennsylvanians were active participants in the Vietnam War, during which time nearly 20 million gallons of chemical defoliant was released to rid the country of its jungle growth and crops. Many Armed Forces personnel suffered from varying illnesses as a result of exposure to the chemical and many have died as well.