Retrospective: Remembering March 29, 1973 – a day back from Vietnam


Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (Photo by Ian Hutchinson via Unsplash)

The latest issue of National Veterans of Foreign Wars Magazine reminded me that on Monday, March 29, our country will honor veterans of the Vietnam War, and we are asked to fly our country’s flag on this special day of remembrance.

More than 50 years ago, many of our young people were called upon to serve in what has become an unpopular war, in a country unknown to most of us – for a reason only our government understands. These young men and women paid a heavy price – too many returned home in coffins, and those who survived to return home were met with silence or scorn. Unlike World War II, there were no ticker tape parades or cheers for these returning troops.

Back home in South Snohomish County, it was hard to understand why we even got involved in what was seen as a civil war in a distant country. Before the fighting ended, 12 former students from schools in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Meadowdale and Mountlake Terrace had lost their lives to violence in the jungles of Vietnam. They were: Darrell Eugene Ayers (MIA), Anthony Michael Leach aka Tony Warner, Gregory Phillip Moser, Ronald Wayne Parker, Jerald David (Rocky) Swan, Miles Gene White, Richard Edward Wilkins, Michael Noel Hoban, Philip Eugene Nickerson, Ronald Page Paschall, Morris Keith James, Steven Jeffrey Minkler. Also, Galen Eugene Warren, a graduate of Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, can be added to this list. This list of former local students does not include other locals who also became victims of this war.

The VFW magazine article states that March 29, 1973 signifies the date when the last troops were repatriated from Vietnam, and this is the reason why National Vietnam War Veterans Day was observed by the U.S. presidents on March 29 every year since 1974.

Additionally, in 2017, the United States House of Representatives and Senate passed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, and then-President Donald Trump signed the law into law. This law encourages the display of the American flag on this national day of remembrance.

Further recognition of the ultimate sacrifices of our country’s young men and women in Vietnam came on November 10, 1982 with the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (better known as The Wall) located at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. DC At the time of dedication, this impressive memorial listed 57,939 names. Since then, as of Memorial Day 2017, an additional 379 names have been added, bringing the total to 58,318 names of people known to have lost their lives in the Vietnam War. We must also remember that no fewer than 1,600 soldiers from that conflict are still missing.

According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, two bronze statues near the wall have been added to the display of honor. One is called the Three Military Statue and depicts three soldiers – one white, one black, and one intended to represent all of the other ethnic groups in our country. This memorial statue was dedicated on Veterans Day 1984 by former President Ronald Reagan.

Another memorial of remembrance is the Women of Vietnam Memorial Statue, which was added to the exhibit on Veterans Day 1993, with a National Women’s Appreciation Week proclamation by former President Bill Clinton and dedication of the memorial sculpture by former Vice President Al Gore. This memorial shows three female servicemen caring for a wounded soldier on the battlefield and describes the crucial role women played in Vietnam.

Lifetime resident of Edmonds, Michael Noel Hoban, victim of the Vietnam War

sergeant. Michael Noel Hoban

One of the Edmonds School District students mentioned above was Michael Noel Hoban, a popular graduate of Edmonds High School, Class of 1966. Here is his story.

On the 50th birthday of Sgt. The death of Michael Hoban in 1968, a friend posted a memory on Facebook:

Michael was highly regarded, a talented performer, struggled for Edmonds High School, enjoyed boating, snorkeling, fishing in Puget Sound, the Stillaguamish River and Lake Goodwin, cruising the A&W, dance etc. He had purchased a 1946 Ford Woody wagon which he was eager to restore. A few months before reporting for work, he met Jody, whom he planned to marry after returning from Vietnam. Michael has brought happiness and joy into the lives of many. He died too young and embodies the saying “Only the good die young”.

Michael Noel Hoban was born in Seattle on December 23, 1946, just two days before Christmas. Perhaps that’s why his parents, Edmonds residents Wilfred and Ruth Hoban, decided their oldest child’s middle name should be Noel.

Michael has always lived in Edmonds, attending Edmonds Elementary School and graduating from Edmonds High School in 1966. In high school he was on the wrestling team and majored in art. Later, many of his classmates remembered his remarkable talent as an artist.

Both of Michael’s parents were teachers in the Edmonds School District – his father was a long-time industrial arts teacher at Edmonds High School and his mother a special education teacher at Edmonds Elementary School. He had a brother, Patrick, and a sister, Jill. Younger brother Patrick, barely 18 years old, served in the Naval Air Reserve.

After graduating from EHS, Michael had only four months to enjoy the last carefree days of his youth. He received his draft notice and entered the military in October 1966. After a year of training at Fort Hood in Texas, Michael began active duty overseas on October 4, 1967. He attained the rank sergeant in a troop, first Squadron, First Cavalry, American Division, US Army, and served in Vietnam as a gunner on an armored tank.

In the summer of 1968, he looked forward to completing his tour of duty with the Army in Vietnam in just 47 days. Instead, his instantaneous death on August 5, 1968 was reported from wounds sustained in action at Quang Tin in South Vietnam. sergeant. Michael Noel Hoban was only 21 when his dreams of a future ended in the jungles of Vietnam. His body was taken back to his hometown of Edmonds, where he was interred at Restlawn Memorial Gardens in the Good Shepherd Plot.

Michael Hoban’s name is included on the wall in Washington, D.C. at sign W49, line 13. He is also honored on the Veterans Memorial located at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery in Westgate and on the Edmonds Veterans Plaza wall in downtown town.

Michael’s father died in 1971 and his mother in 1989. They are both buried near their son at Restlawn Memorial Gardens in Edmonds.

— By Betty Lou Gaeng

Betty Gaeng is a former longtime resident of Lynnwood and Edmonds, having arrived in the area in 1933. Although she now lives in Anchorage, she occasionally writes about the history and early inhabitants of Lynnwood, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace . She is also an honorary board member of Edmonds Cemetery.

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