It had been more than 44 years since Michael Tripp left Asia as he stood outside Barrington Town Hall Monday morning. At his feet, shrouded beneath a red, white and blue colored cloth was the latest plaque added to the town’s Veterans Memorial.
It’s affixed to a small, gray stone next to stout monuments honoring those who fought in Korea and World War II. It’s a tribute to Barrington veterans who fought during the Vietnam Era and its unveiling was one part of the United Veterans’ Council’s annual Veterans’ Day Memorial Service held earlier this week.
The crowd that turned out for the event included local residents and veterans, most of whom were from Barrington. Mr. Tripp, who was shot down four times while serving as a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam between May of 1966 through February of 1968, was the day’s master of ceremonies.
The morning began with the traditional laying of a memorial wreath, which was performed by World War II veterans Louis Codega and Albert Dziedzic Sr.
Retired U.S. Army veteran Charles Brule was the event’s guest speaker. He said the Vietnam Era is recognized from 1961 through 1975. He also said veterans of this era did not necessarily serve in Vietnam but may have also fought in the Dominican Republic or Haiti, among other conflicts and veterans should consider running for elected office.
“For those service men and women who stood guard at peaceful locations in the continental United States, for those who have seen the terror, the horror and the inhumanity of combat and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice let it be said that we were there for America, defending the Constitution of the United States,” he said.