By Marissa GOULD, intern
The community came out on Saturday in recognition of national Vietnam Veterans Day by honoring those who fought in either the Vietnam or Korean War. For the second year, “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” took place at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard in Montrose.
The ceremony was held at 8 a.m. and was hosted by the VFW and American Legion. Veterans from all branches of the military were on hand, standing to be recognized when their branch’s song was played. The JROTC from Crescenta Valley High School also made a presentation to honor each branch. Veteran Lynn McGinnis recited a poem about the importance of America’s flag, Old Glory, and what it means to soldiers everywhere.
It was last year when President Barack Obama proclaimed March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day. The date is significant because it was on March 29, 1973 that the last American troops left Vietnam.
“Yet, in one of the war’s most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected – to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example,” said the President when making the proclamation. “We must never let this happen again. Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations: to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us. … Our nation stands stronger for their service, and on Vietnam Veterans Day, we honor their proud legacy with our deepest gratitude.”
Honoring veterans of the Korean War was a welcome addition to the Montrose ceremony for those who served in what is oftentimes called the Forgotten War because of the poor reception veterans received upon returning from overseas duty.
Korean War veteran Warren Spate, who is a member in local VFW Post 1614 and the American Legion 208, spoke to those assembled about the Korean War and how it should not be forgotten.
“The worst thing you can do to a veteran who has died is to forget them,” he said.