Welcome home, Vietnam veterans

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

This Sunday, April 3, is a celebration that many veterans’ groups hope will grow; It’s Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans Day.

The county got a jump on it with a March 30 ceremony, according to a publicity release that arrived in our office on March 29, a little late for us to publicize. But we did get information from the VFW about something at their Clubhouse marking the occasion. It’s a barbecue dinner from 3 to 5 p.m. free to veterans on Sunday.

Other areas of the nation have celebrated this event in the past on April 3. It’s long overdue.

Vietnam veterans faced some dreadful times when they returned from fighting for their country in Southeast Asia. There were insults, physical violence and other pain, to say nothing of the physical and mental anguish that some of these people went through in the ensuing years.

We have written before about the reflective moments that these former military men share when they visit places such as the traveling Vietnam Memorial, which has appeared twice in the past four years in Marion County. The emotion is hard to ignore when you go to one of these events, as you watch the survivors read the names of the thousands of vets who didn’t make it home.

It’s about time we recognized the sacrifices these people made, how their lives were changed through no fault of their own, and how many of them still carry the scars of war.

So if you know any Viet vets, welcome them home this Sunday, even though they’ve been back for a long time. We’re sure they’ll appreciate it.