The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Quebec (CVVQ) held their 17th annual Cross-Border Run at their memorial at 250 Émond Street, at the corner of Route 132 in Melocheville, Quebec last Friday night.
Some 75 people attended. Wreaths were laid by various military representatives from Canada and the United States, including legions in Brossard and Melocheville, a representative from the Veterans UN-NATO Canada, the Rolling Thunder organization, and representatives from the parent and regional chapters of the Nam Knights.
The vigil began with the playing of the United States and Canadian national anthems and then later, after one minute of silence, taps. Three times, slouched men in their sixties straightened their backs, saluted smartly and looked like disciplined soldiers again.
The most moving portion of the ceremony took place during the eight minutes that various veterans read the name of 128 Canadians who died or went missing while serving for the United States military during the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1975.
“It’s so hard to read these names,” said one of the veterans, when the readings were completed.
Another special moment took place when a gift was given to Vietnam Veteran Seargent Richard Levesque, the service officer from the Vietnam Veterans Administration (VVA) in the United States. Levesque has worked with Quebec-based Vietnam Veterans for the past 17 years until he retired from the Massachusetts State Council VVA earlier this year.
Mention was made of friends of the organization who have died in recent years, including Vietnam Veteran Leopold Petahtegoose, who attended many past Cross-Border Runs and World War II Veteran Dr. Frederick Lundell, a psychiatrist who spent his career treating many of the members of the CVVQ for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
For more information about the group, or its upcoming events, refer to their improved website at http://cvvq-aqvv.typepad.com/cvvq-aqvv/.