More than 100 Vietnam-era veterans were honored Thursday afternoon during a noon-time ceremony at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento’s Capitol Park.
Each year, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 500 holds a ceremony to honor Vietnam veterans and provide the “welcome home” that was missing when they returned home years ago. This year, the event, co-hosted by CalVet and the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, also served to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and veterans who attended the ceremony received a commemorative lapel pin in honor of their service to our nation.
“Today, we honor all the brave men and women who served their country during the Vietnam War, to give them the thanks and ‘welcome home’ they so rightly deserved, but never received,” said Martin J. Snezek II, President of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 500.
“We are so happy to partner with the state of California and the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America in celebration of Vietnam veterans. It is our privilege to be able to recognize the sacrifices these veterans have made for our great nation,” said Wendy Torres, Director, Oakland Regional Benefits Office, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Veterans are at the heart of everything we do at the VA and it is our honor to have shared that sentiment with everyone who attended.”
Speakers at the event included: Congressman Ami Bera; Bradley Phillips, Pacific District Director, National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Col. John Klein, Commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base; and Russell Atterberry, Undersecretary, California Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Fifty years ago, a generation of American men and women stepped up to serve their country in a strange place, for unclear reasons and against an unknown enemy,” said Atterberry. “They stepped up to serve their country and they didn’t receive the warmest welcome when they returned home. Now it’s our job to ensure that the contributions of Vietnam veterans will not be forgotten in 50 years or even in 150 years.”