The national leadership and education conference for the Vietnam Veterans of America will be in Wichita Aug. 5-9.
The conference, which takes place every two years, is expected to draw hundreds of veterans and their families to Wichita for seminars, meetings and other events. The group’s support organization, the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, is co-sponsoring the event.
“I’m hoping 700 to 800 people will converge on Wichita,” said Jim Denison, a Vietnam veteran. “It is the first time it has been held in Wichita.”
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is expected to address the conference on Aug. 7, remarking on the current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs, particularly as it relates to Agent Orange. The herbicide was used by the U.S. military in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971.
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Moran is a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the Senate and has chaired the health subcommittee in the House. He is expected to speak from 2 to 2:30 p.m.
All events will be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Although the conference is closed to the public, some events are open, including the session on Agent Orange with Moran, Denison said.
“We urge the public to come,” he said.
Other events open to the public include a wreath-laying ceremony at 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Wichita Veterans Memorial Park, 339 N. Veterans Parkway, and a recognition of prisoners of war and those missing in action at 8 a.m. Aug. 8 on the River Walk below the Hyatt. In addition, there will be a veterans’ mall that will feature collectibles, clothing and vendor merchandise within the Hyatt, Denison said.
The Vietnam Veterans of America has Kansas chapters in Hays, Salina, Ottawa, Topeka and Kansas City.