TAMPA, Fla. - This Tuesday marks National Vietnam War Veterans Day so to honor the lives that served The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 787, and the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County hosted a special welcome home ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Tampa Saturday.
"In so many ways our country failed to do right those years ago and welcome you home, lift you up and honor you and that's why we're here today," James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital Executive Director David Dunning said.
Dozens of people came together for the special remembrance event. March 29th is now recognized as National Vietnam War Veterans Day after President Trump signed legislation back in 2017.
"They just did not get the welcome home like we've seen in today's military operations and that is so sad because our country was in a time of very turbulent times," Durant High School Air Force JROTC Instructor Andrew T. Johnson said.
March 29, 1973, is when the last remaining U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam, but their welcome home was anything but welcoming.
"They felt like they were not appreciated for what they had done. Some of them spent 3, 4, 5, or 6 tours over there," American Legion U.S.S. Tampa Post 5 Commander JR Scoggins said.
"You cannot repay them for what their sacrifice was. You just can't do that and so we President Trump officially making it Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day on the 29th we need to do this every year, and we will not forget," Johnson said.
As part of the ceremony, organizers paid tribute to veterans who've passed away over the last year recognizing their spouses and thanking the families for their service. A long-awaited thanks to those who sacrificed their lives.
"We felt like it was important that all Vietnam veterans realize what they did is important to America," Scoggins said.