"It's indescribable. It should've happened 40 years ago".
At Thursday's ceremony, former service members who served in the armed forces during the war were recognized with certificates and special lapel pins. Each will be honored in a moving ceremony.
The Welcome Home, Southwest Florida celebration to honor Vietnam veterans was a partnership between Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Manatee County Foundation and Tidewell Hospice. "They realize the importance of it", says Bernard Shankman a 95-year-old World War II veteran.
"Even though we were spit on, chastised, what we're doing now is more meaningful".
Leaders said the remembrance "is a long-overdue opportunity for all Americans to recognize, honor and thank our Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices during one of America's longest wars".
"You guys don't know that you're heroes, but you are", she said in her closing remarks.
The ceremony started off with the Presentation of the Colors and an invocation by Rev. Bill Brammer. "As a result, there are thousands and thousands of veterans who have benefited from our service - not just in the military but afterwards".
Five U.S. presidents served through the war's span of almost 20 years.
Hill shared some of his experiences while serving in the Vietnam War.
Also, the American Legion's 8th District is co-hosting the Vietnam Veterans Appreciation Day states District Commander and Post 560's, First Vice-Commander Richard Voorhies.
"We're losing our Vietnam War veterans real fast". He said he served three years in the Army. "People did not want to talk about it".
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the sixth summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation, and pay an official visit to Vietnam from Friday to Monday at the invitation of the Vietnamese government, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday. During that stint, he was a driver again, this time for a lieutenant colonel, he said.
Veterans like Joseph Butler, who served in the Navy Construction Battlation in the Vietnam War, reflected on the difficulties of returning home after the polarizing war. "I felt like he was here giving me a hug".
Bishop helped organize the event and said he's glad to be able to help veterans open those lines of communication. More than 2.7 million served in Vietnam, and between 1 million and 1.6 million either fought in combat or provided close support. They came home and kept fighting for us, helping build the America that we love and cherish. I went up and lived in the woods for a year.
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