Musical tribute to mark 50 years since Vietnam War

Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 09:55:58-04

It has been 50 years since the Vietnam War and when those men and women came home, they did not get the thank you they deserved.

On Thursday, August 4, there will be that thank you at the War Memorial Center in Milwaukee.

"I want the whole community to show up for this thing," said Dave Drent, executive director of the War Memorial Center.

The tribute is to honor Vietnam veterans like John Koeppen, and TODAY'S TMJ4's own John Malan. Koeppen was just 19 years old when he was sent overseas.

"It was my Hollywood war. Hootches were burning. There was artillery going. Jets were streaming overhead. Helicopters were coming in, we all came in," he said.

Koeppen said Thursday's event is more than a long overdue thank you and welcome home party. "It's honoring Vietnam vets, but it's a celebration of the music of that time."

Drent has spoken to many veterans about the event. "The veterans don't want the medals. They just want to be remembered. They want to be remembered for their contribution to world freedom. And that's part of what we're going to do tomorrow but we're going to have a little fun doing it."

There will be a band playing the songs of the '60s and '70s and a conversation with the authors of a book called "We Got To Get Out of this Place".

Drent wants everyone to be there. "There are a lot of Vietnam vets in our area. Wisconsin has always answered the call. I'm hoping they all know what's going on and they all come here and I'm hoping they can hardly move in there. That's how many people I want."

The Musical Tribute to Vietnam Veterans goes from 5-9pm at the War Memorial. TODAY'S TMJ4's chief meteorologist and Vietnam veteran John Malan will be there.

The event is free and open to the public.