Vietnam veterans to be Grand Marshals of Beauregard Fair Parade

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 5:25 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Vietnam veterans in the Lake Area are being honored in Beauregard parish next month and are being invited to be Grand Marshals in the Beauregard Parish Fair.

“We never asked but for one thing, that was respect,” said Al Cochran.

We never had a welcome home,” said Doc Mallory. “We were spit on, cussed at, and everything else when we got back from Vietnam. There was no parade.”

In the past several years, communities have made sure their Vietnam Veterans knew they were welcomed back home. That’s what organizers of the Beauregard Parish Fair parade are doing this fall.

“This would be a truly welcome home reception,” said Jody Campbell, longtime Beauregard parish resident. “We’ve done several things for them but not quite like this. It is unusual that this particular parade does have a consecutive number of spectators that have been coming out for quite some time.”

Campbell helps organize the annual Veterans Day celebration in Dry Creek each year and is now inviting Vietnam vets in the area to take part in the Beauregard Fair parade on Oct. 3.

“I would hope that they would be able to have some closure on their homecoming when they came home in the 60s and 70s,” said Campbell. “That it would rekindle their services and their duty.”

“The fact that everyone who served in Vietnam did a job that was not particularly popular in this country at that time,” said John Derosier, Vietnam veteran. “But our country said we need you to go represent this country and if you’re going to represent this country, you’re going to need to do what you need to do.”

Vietnam veterans wanting to be on the Beauregard Parish Fair Float need to RSVP with Dry Creek Baptist Camp before Oct. 3, 2023, by calling 337-495-3222. Veterans will meet at the Deridder BECI office parking lot 1010 E. 1st St. at 4:30 p.m.