Vietnam Veterans Honored at Purple Heart Ceremony

More than 50,000 soldiers who died fighting in the Vietnam War were being remembered Saturday. It's a grim reminder of soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

The names of more than 58,000 soldiers killed in combat were being read aloud as a means of honoring them at a Purple Heart ceremony.

"The Purple Heart has direct meaning to each one of the 58,000 you have on that wall. Each one of the 58,000 received a Purple Heart because they died for their country," said Washington Sanchez, a member of Order of The Purple Heart.

Saturday's ceremony held a special meaning for veterans serving in what some called "the longest military conflict in U.S. history."

For some it's a time of healing, for others a time of remembrance.

"It means a lot to me because I know what they went through. To have that award displayed, those that were wounded and killed in action were rather special to those that served there," said John E. Schmidt, Jr., a Vietnam veteran.

Many of the veterans in attendance fought in multiple wars and say this ceremony was a long overdue.

"I think it's about time we got a little bit of recognition. I'm getting more recognition now after retiring from the military," said Sanchez.

And while these men are not on the front lines, many are passing along a message to the men and women now fighting in the Middle East.

"The same message I took with me when I went to Vietnam, that is to sustain freedom and do your job to protect the country from terrorists," said Schmidt.

It’s a country that is continuing its effort to fight terrorists to keep America safe.

More than 304,000 soldiers were wounded in Vietnam. Closing ceremonies will be held Sunday afternoon at Cully's Meadowood at 4 p.m.