March 29 marked the 45th anniversary of when the last U.S. combat forces withdrew from Vietnam. More than 8.7 million Americans served in the conflict, which killed 58,000, while about 1,600 remain missing.
“The worst thing about the Vietnam War was when the vets came back, they were trashed – no respect whatsoever. This is just one way of repaying them and recognizing them,” said Ken Kackley with Lebanon VFW Post 5015.
“When we do something like this, it kind of brings some justice for those Vietnam veterans,” said Wilson County Veterans Services director Michael McPherson. “I thought about it on my way to work today – the significance of the Vietnam veterans. Look at their chapters. They had a hard time when they came home, but look at all the things they do for our community. They’re still giving.”
“They veterans are strong people. They’ve come back to serve, be involved and serve their community just like they served in combat,” said Wilson County Commissioner Jerry McFarland. “It’s just a wonderful segment of our society that went through a time period where they had to be very dedicated to what they were doing, and now they’ve come home and brought that same dedication back, and is making America better.”
McPherson and McFarland said the day should be full of thanks to veterans. About 7 million Vietnam War veterans are still alive.
“This is very important to remember, and very soon, to my understanding, the federal government will be asking them to write their memoirs – what they remember, what they saw, etc. Hopefully, that will go into history,” McFarland said.