By Jessica Mathews /

A local lawmaker’s plan to recognize Vietnam War veterans has passed the House.

The state House approved a plan introduced by State Representative Bob Bezotte to create the Michigan Vietnam Veteran Recognition Certificate. The Marion Township Republican said it’s a well-deserved acknowledgment for veterans of the Vietnam War, along with their families. Bezotte served in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Army.

A press release states the Vietnam War was a long and bloody conflict. According to official numbers, over 400,000 Michigan servicemen and women served in the Vietnam War. A total of 2,651 of those men and women gave their lives in the conflict.

In honor of those who served in the Vietnam War, the state of Michigan erected a Vietnam Veterans Monument in 2001. Bezotte said several states have a similar certificate available for Vietnam veterans, but Michigan does not and his plan aims to change that.

The certificate may be awarded to citizens of the state or anyone who was a citizen of the state while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who have been honorably discharged and served during the Vietnam War era. The bill provides for a special designation for those veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service. The certificate may also be awarded to the designated representative of a deceased veteran.

Bezotte said he especially thanks former Michigan State Representative Dr. Hank Vaupel, a Vietnam War veteran and former Army Captain, and former Marine David Mester for their preliminary work on this matter.

House Bill 4065 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.