Most everyone knows that Veterans Day (Nov. 11 annually) is near and dear to any military family. It is a day for the country to remember and honor all veterans.
But many do not realize that March 29 is Vietnam Veterans Day. It is a day that has largely gone unnoticed, until now.
Elizabeth Lakamp’s Tribute to the Troops is a newly formed non-profit. It brings a long-awaited ‘welcome home’ to those who experienced the worst of times in a divided country.
Founder Elizabeth Lakamp is from Troy, Ill. She has been performing in and around the St. Louis area for over 25 years. Having entertained for Greater St Louis Honor Flight since 2014, she came to know many military veterans.
Then, in 2016, the commander of an American Legion asked Lakamp to create a show for Vietnam veterans. From there it grew into a larger-scale production that included, dinner, displays, brotherhood, and most importantly, the welcome home that so many had longed for. Lakamp had plans to expand and do the show every year, but unfortunately, Covid stopped everything.
After many requests, Lakamp has decided to bring her show back in honor of this Vietnam Veterans Day. This year’s show will be on March 25, 2023, in McKinley Hall at Belleville’s Union United Methodist Church. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., colors will be presented with the show to follow. Tickets are $20 each.
Lakamp said, “This show is interactive, educational, and mostly lighthearted. I want to bring back the feeling of brotherhood, not war,” said Lakamp. Lakamp also notes that the show also takes the audience on a journey back in time by revisiting not only the music but some of the old shows and commercials of the era. “It really is a lot of fun for everyone, even if you aren’t from a military background,” said Lakamp.
This event is much more than a show – it is an experience. Early arrival is encouraged. The VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 458) will once again bring their various displays and memorabilia for all to see. Other organizations centered around helping veterans will have information tables, too. Attendance prizes and snacks and refreshments will be provided; it is recommended to have some cash in hand to participate in the event’s 50/50 and raffle drawings.
New this year is a Wall of Honor / Remembrance wall where attendees can recognize their loved one’s name by placing it on a displayed star. Supporting the cause can also be done by pre-purchasing a large sign to showcase a beloved veteran (link available on ticketing site).
“I hope to offer this every year for Vietnam Veterans Day, but for now this is the only one I am doing in 2023,” said Lakamp. “I think there should be enough local support to have a sellout crowd but if only a few veterans are blessed by the event, then it was worth it.”
To pre-purchase tickets visit www.entertainmentbyelizabeth.com. Groups of 10 or more will receive a 15 percent discount when ordering online.
If anyone would like to become a sponsor or donate an item for the raffle, or for any other questions, call or text (314) 313-7746.
Physical tickets will also be available at the Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce in Troy (cash or check), the Jarvis (Troy) Senior Center (cash and in person only), or the drive-up window at What The Cup? (cash or credit), also in Troy. If your business would like to also host ticket sales, call the number above.
To learn more about this newly formed nonprofit, visit online at https://elizabethlakampstributetothetroops.ludus.com/.
721 East Main Street
Belleville , Illinois 62220