This summer, WGVU TV will broadcast Vietnam War Stories, a 3-part documentary produced by Wisconsin Public Television. While recording more than 100 interviews for the series, producers kept hearing the same comment from many of the veterans: they weren't welcomed home after grueling tours of duty 40 years ago in Southeast Asia.
On Saturday, July 3, 2010, they finally got that "Welcome Home," when WGVU, Grand Valley State University, and the West Michigan Whitecaps, in conjunction with the broadcast of Vietnam War Stories, presented LZ Michigan. (LZ is an abbreviation for "Landing Zone," military slang for a helicopter clearing where supplies or troops are landed.)
The LZ Michigan event at Fifth Third Ballpark honored and welcomed home Michigan's Vietnam War Veterans. This statewide effort culminated in a day of recognition and celebration of their service and sacrifice, for veterans, their families and the public. The event was not political or military. It was the community's expression of thanks, support and welcome for the men and women who served in Vietnam.
The July 3, 2010 event, LZ Michigan, featured a special evening celebration inside Grand Rapids Fifth Third Ballpark, which honored and thanked our community's Vietnam Veterans.
The ceremony honored those who were killed in action, those still missing and unaccounted for and the surviving vets, many of whom continue to suffer from injuries incurred in Southeast Asia.
The event featured speakers, recognition, musical entertainment and videos from the premiere of the Vietnam War Stories documentary, and closed with fireworks.