It is the "welcome home" many Vietnam veterans said they never received.
Veterans and community members in Gregg County have worked for months to host a "Welcome Home" event honoring them in the victory of the 1968 Tet offensive.
"We are doing this on their behalf to say that regardless of what your political thoughts are on the Vietnam War, and there were a lot who were against it, but you know what? We went there and we fought it, so regardless of what your thoughts are you should at least say, 'thank you' to the men and women who went over there and fought it," said Vietnam veteran Bob Hallmark.
John Bradberry remembers the day he returned home from duty; he flew in to Dallas Love Field. It is a day he will never forget.
"People were not really happy to see you in uniform. I was proud, I didn't care. I was proud of what I did, I was proud of my service to my country, and people said things. People really wanted to take you down because you were doing something that they did politically didn't think was right," Bradberry said.
"To this day, Vietnam veterans have not really ever received the welcome home or a thank you, job well done. Ironically, when I returned home, my flight connection to Seattle was late, so I arrived in Florida about an hour after midnight, in the rain, in an empty airport with the lights out and it was pretty depressing," said veteran Dick Jurkowski.
An empty airport with no one there to greet him. It is the same "welcome home" many men and women across the country remember.
"For one day, these guys get to be soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines again. And it's their time to be thanked for a service that a lot of people just forgot and a lot of this country just didn't want to remember," Hallmark said.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:33 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:33:11 GMT
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