Like the balsam fir tree that holds his dog tag, Roger Donlon stands tall and quiet. 

Wreaths Across America had the honor of getting to know more about Roger recently and the medal he proudly wears around his neck today as a symbol of his courage and valor in service to our country during the Vietnam War.

Roger and his wife Norma were among featured guests for the opening of the 'Welcome Home' exhibit now on display at the Wreaths Across America Museum located in Columbia Falls, Maine.

"My wife Norma and I have had the privilege to participate in Wreaths Across America ceremonies in Kansas, the heart of America, and California on the West Coast, and now we've come home to Wreaths Across America," Roger stated. "For Vietnam veterans, and every veteran of every generation those words 'welcome home' are like a prayer; a prayer answered."

Colonel (Ret.) Roger Donlon U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Vietnam conflict, was also the first to tag his remembrance tree, along with Helen Johnson, in the newly created Medal of Honor Remembrance Park on the tip land. Balsam fir tips are harvested once every three years from tagged remembrance trees and are made into the sponsored veterans' remembrance wreaths placed at Arlington National Cemetery and at over 1,200 other participating locations in December.

"The dedication of the Vietnam exhibit is a special honor for Norma and me." Roger went on to explain his wife Norma is a Gold Star spouse, and she also placed a dog tag in honor of her first husband, Lt. John Irving who was killed in Vietnam in May of 1965.

Roger humbly spoke of being the first recipient from the Vietnam War to be given the medal for his actions in combat.

"Anyone who's been in combat knows the living ones are the lucky ones," Roger reminded attendees. "There are many more who are deserving of this [MOH] that God only knows. There were no witnesses to their deeds of honor on the battlefield."

In referencing the Wreaths Across America Stem to Stone Remembrance Tree program, Roger spoke to the value and necessity of "planting seeds of patriotism" in younger generations.

In this video, Wreaths Across America's Chairman of the Board of Directors, Wayne Hanson shares more from Roger's Medal of Honor citation while Roger shares his gratitude for fellow Vietnam veterans and tags one of the first trees in the newly created section of the tip land.

Thank you, Roger and Norma Donlon and all Vietnam War veterans, for your service to our nation and for representing the mission to remember, honor and teach.

The Wreaths Across America Museum is located at WAA headquarters in Columbia Falls, Maine and is dedicated to the memory and sacrifices of the nation’s military. It holds hundreds of items that have been gifted to the organization over more than two decades. Admittance to the museum is always free and open to the public from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.

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