May 25, 2022
"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

Soccer Game Held to Honor Veterans and Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War

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On a bright and sunny Saturday morning, friends and family gathered at Joe Finn Park in Abita

Springs to watch a soccer game between the Madisonville Fusion and the Abita Fire to honor all

Veterans and commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Quite a contrast from

the day before, when heavy rains drenched the playing field and threatened to return for the

day’s game.

Scouts placed large American Flags in the turn-around of the City of Abita to point to the location of the

game on Hwy 36. On entering the park, fans were greeted by members of several military

organizations and asked to sign a huge yellow banner inscribed with the words, “Welcome Home

Vietnam Vets 1965-2015”, which was donated by Meraco Signs to commemorate the 50th Anniversary

Vietnam War.  A POW-MIA (Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Veterans) table was set-up by Purple

Heart representative, Ed Oltmann. The meaning of the arrangement on the table was explained and also

displayed on a placard.  The St. Tammany Veterans Honor Guard, which included American Legion and

VFW members posted colors. The Boy Scouts lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Coach James played the

National Anthem over the sound system.

Boy Scout Troop #610 and Girl Scout #3245 helped to distribute bottled water donated by Sams Club to

Veterans’ and guests.   The Abita team made camouflage cupcakes for the Veterans and Honor Guard to

enjoy. The warm-up started at 10 am, the colors were posted at 10:45 am and the game started at

11 am. After a tough and muddy game, the Abita Fire won 2 to 0.  Heath Allen, Channel 6 reporter and

US Army Veteran, was there to report on the game and what this special event means to the Veterans

and a grateful community, who realizes freedom is not free, it comes with many sacrifices.

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