Vietnam Vets Honored
They were soldiers who fought for our freedom, but in many cases received an un-inviting welcome home.
But decades after the Vietnam War, Vietnam veterans are finally getting the warm welcome they hoped for for so many years.
Annette Garcia was at the welcome home ceremony and has the details.
“I appreciate this because 40 years ago we were unwanted and cast off labeled as murderers. This is something that I’m looking forward to.”
Emotional but truly thankful.
Vietnam veterans like Hector Gomez say today is the day when they can finally stop thinking of a dark past and look toward a better future no longer ignored or stereotyped as murderers.
In a memorial held Monday, City leaders offered a sincere welcome home and proclaimed the week of April 24th as the week to pay tribute to Laredo’s unsung heroes, veterans of the Vietnam war.
Gomez' wife says it's the beginning of the recovery, recovering from a pain they and the families felt for so long. People, she says, would discriminate against Vietnam veterans when they did go out and find a job. She says since then there have been memorials for all other troops who come home, but they have been forgotten.
Vietnam veterans say they've always been grateful for memorials like this one here at Jarvis Plaza but their families say they've always deserved so much more. Now their wounds can begin to heal.
One by one, Vietnam veterans were recognized and told thank you.
“I’m so glad justice has come through and after 40 years our soul is starting that healing.”
“We do not ask for anything, just a little love and respect. Some of us gave some and some gave all.”
Also remembered were those 28 Laredoans who gave it all, the ultimate sacrifice and a reminder that freedom isn't free.
“This proclamation is something we really deserve and we're proud of it.”
Today’s' memorial also included a guest presentation by retired U.S. Navy Seal Erasmo Riojas.