Local Veterans Of Vietnam War Post Closes After National Group Shutters

May 21, 2019

A national Vietnam War veterans’ organization has closed up shop and its former posts are doing the same, leading to a spate of donations to other nonprofit organizations.

Post 56 of the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Nanticoke, has donated a new American flag to the Hanover Green Cemetery, Hanover Twp. A ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to raise the flag.

Frank Park, of Hunlock Creek, the last commander of Post 56, said declining membership prompted the national organization to shut down a few weeks ago and Post 56 followed.

“We had 60 to 65 members at our peak,’’ Park said, representing all branches of the U.S. military. Park was an Army ranger who, like his comrades in arms, saw action in Vietnam.

The organization used acronym the VVNW, Park said. The group was organized in Pittston, which hosted Post 1, and the national organization had several commanders over the years.

In shutdown mode, Post 56 has donated to the bingo project at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Plains Twp.; to the Eagles Aerie in Nanticoke, where the Vietnam vets met for many years, and to other charities.

Even though defunct, Post 56 will have a presence at five cemeteries as they prepare for Memorial Day this year. The vets helped place flags on graves of veterans, Park said.

“We also take care of a small cemetery at Sweet Valley,’’ Park said. The vets began cutting grass and resetting toppled tombstones several years ago, he said. The cemetery is unnamed, he said, but six to eight Vietnam War vets are dedicated to maintaining the 100 graves on the site.

Len Luba, president of the Hanover Green Cemetery Association, said AMVETS Post 59 of Hanover Twp. will assist in the flag ceremony. The old flag will be lowered and the new flag will be presented by Post 56 members and then hoisted. The AMVETS, formed in December 1944, accepts members from all wars.

Luba said the Hanover Twp. Community Ambulance Association will be on hand. Its new headquarters is on the site of the former Hanover Green fire station just north of the cemetery. The public is welcome to attend, he said.

Another Vietnam vets’ organization, the National Vietnam Veterans of America, lists a membership of approximately 65,000, with 617 chapters throughout the United States and its possessions, according to its website. The closest chapter listed is in Thornhurst, Lackawanna County.

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