Local DAR chapter to hold dessert honoring Vietnam vets
"Welcome Home" will be the theme of the Honor Dessert for Clackamas County Vietnam Veterans on Saturday, Jan. 27, in Oregon City. The phrase is simple, yet meaningful, noted event organizers Cindy Borders and Phyllis Hines.
There was much personal and cultural conflict during the Vietnam War era, Borders said.
"It was the most divisive event in [our] history, except for the Civil War; now it's time for us to heal," she said.
The honor dessert will represent the homecoming reception that the Vietnam veterans never had, Hines said.
The two women noted that the dessert is for all Clackamas County Vietnam-era veterans, including those who were in the military at the time but did not take part in the war.
"If they live in Clackamas County now, or they enlisted in Clackamas County" they are invited to this event, Hines said.
Daughters of the American Revolution
Both Borders and Hines are Oregon City residents and members of the Susannah Lee Barlow Chapter of the DAR. Chapter members helped with fundraising for the Vietnam Memorial in Milwaukie's Scott Park, dedicated on Nov. 11, and they also volunteered when the traveling Vietnam War wall exhibit came to Milwaukie in 2015.
But they wanted to do one more event, this time honoring the living.
The recent release of the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick film "The Vietnam War" stimulated new awareness about the war and the idea for the dessert became reality.
"We want to honor those still alive. Many have been exposed to Agent Orange and are rapidly dying off," Borders said.
At the event, each veteran will be given a commemorative certificate and pin, and there will be music and food.
The keynote speaker will be Alan Olsen, state senator from Senate District 20, which includes the towns of Barlow, Canby, Oregon City and others in Clackamas County.
The dessert will be held in the Oregon City VFW Hall, Post 1234, 104 Tumwater Drive, and it will be "a place [for Vietnam-era vets] to come together to be recognized for what they did," Hines said.
There will be a commemorative table at the event, and veterans can bring photos and write letters to former comrades. Everything will then be compiled into a digital scrapbook.
Because organizers want to personalize the certificates and pins, it is crucial that veterans contact Borders ahead of time.
"I will need their mailing address to send them a formal invitation so we can maintain a list of attendees, and so we can be sure everyone receives their recognition," she said, adding that she also needs the veteran's full name, branch of service and rank at discharge.
For Borders, the upcoming event resonates with her on several levels.
One of her brothers was in the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam in 1972 to 1973 aboard the USS Berkeley. He survived the war, but has since died.
Meanwhile, her oldest grandson watched the Ken Burns documentary and began a conversation with his grandfather, who served in Vietnam in the early days and was involved in the 1968 Tet Offensive.
That opened up dialogue about the war with family members, who have a new respect for the veteran, she said.
Also, Borders is a criminal defense investigator who works with criminal defense lawyers; she specializes in cases involving veterans who get into trouble.
Hines, who is the regent of the Susannah Lee Barlow Chapter of the DAR, noted that in 2015, the chapter partnered with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.
"The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 with the mission of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism," Hines said.
"One way we promote patriotism is by supporting veterans and current military members."
Local DAR members wanted to learn more about veterans from Oregon City whose names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
"We later expanded our research to include all of Clackamas County," Hines said, and the result is the paperback book "Remembering the Vietnam War and the Clackamas County Fallen," with the biographies of all those from the county who lost their lives during the conflict.
It is available for purchase from Amazon.com. Proceeds from sales are donated to the next phase of construction at the Scott Park Vietnam War memorial site.
As commemorative partners, DAR members also are asked to sponsor events that support the objectives. The honor dessert recognizes and thanks veterans for "their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States," Hines said.
Another big event for the Susannah Lee Barlow Chapter of the DAR will take place in the coming year.
Hines added, "Our chapter was organized in 1918, and this April will be our chapter's 100th birthday."
Susannah Lee Barlow Chapter of the DAR
The Susannah Lee Barlow Chapter of the DAR was organized in April 1918 by Mrs. George A. Harding, organizing regent and a granddaughter of Susannah Lee Barlow, and Mrs. Isaac Lee Patterson, state regent.
The name for this chapter was chosen to honor Susannah Lee Barlow, a daughter of the American Revolution.
Barlow also was the wife of Samuel Kimbrough Barlow, who has a significant place in Oregon City history.
The Barlow family started their journey to Oregon in June of 1845. At The Dalles, Samuel Kimbrough Barlow blazed a trail through the forest for the first wagon road over the Cascade Mountains.
The family reached Oregon City on Christmas Day of 1845. In 1850, they moved to land that eventually would become the town of Barlow.
This information was adapted from the Oregon magazine, "Organization of Chapters and Significance of Chapter Names," February - March, 1926, pages 44-45.
To purchase a copy of "Remembering the Vietnam War and the Clackamas County Fallen," visit amzn.to/2ymTw6K or Clackamascountyfallen.com.