Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

By: Angela Howard Email
By: Angela Howard Email

Some 40 years ago, the men and women returning from Vietnam were shunned by their fellow Americans, but that 'scarlet letter' is slowly fading and legislation in the U.S. Senate may lighten it even more.

In 1954, Veterans Day as we know it officially became a federal holiday, and we've celebrated it on November 11th since 1978.

The day is supposed to honor American veterans of ALL wars, but the negative stigma attached to the Vietnam War makes some vets who fought during that time feel left out.

"I don't believe that we received the true appreciation at that time and certainly the ones that went over later didn't receive that appreciation," said retired marine and Vietnam Veteran George McKee.

That's part of the reason why Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson co-sponsored a resolution to designate March 30th as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

"The brave Americans who served our country in Vietnam deserve recognition and gratitude for their sacrifices," Isakson said in a statement, and Vietnam Vet Joe West agrees.

"The idea is, is to put the negative welcome and the negative connotations that the Vietnam Vets had when they came home and put a lot of that to rest, and change the image," said Joe West, Vietnam Veteran and president of VET Inc.

And while many may not celebrate this day with the same grandeur displayed in November, local vets who fought in the Vietnam War say, it's a step in the right direction.

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