An event that its organizer hoped would draw thousands of Vietnam veterans to Fort Wayne might not be held at all.
Kevin Howell, an Allen County Council member who served in the Marines from 1983 to 1993, had scheduled an Oct. 5 “Vietnam Veterans of America National Homecoming” rally at the Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the official start of American involvement in the Vietnam War. President John F. Kennedy authorized U.S. troops to assist in South Vietnam in October 1963.
But coliseum officials Thursday confirmed that Howell had cancelled his reservation and had made no effort to reschedule the event.
Howell was unavailable for comment, but in May said he still needed to raise $122,500 to make the event a reality. At the time, he had received a $2,500 grant from Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne and hoped to persuade nine other individuals or businesses to contribute $25,000 by July 4, with the goal of raising another $100,000 by the date of the event.
Howell also hoped to organize a health fair during the coliseum rally, which would have been preceded by a parade.
Howell said he recently learned that his brother, Laurence, had served in the Army during the “secret war” in Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam conflict.