National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognized locally
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - They didn't get the recognition they deserved when they came home. Nor were the hardships they went through fully understood and appreciated.
Now decades later, the country has grown and is moving forward and rectifying the past. March 29, 1973, was the day troops were officially pulled out of Vietnam, and the conflict ended.
Some Vietnam Vets feel this could be thanks to the younger generations being more aware of what they went through.
"People are accepting it a lot more and more understanding what happened during the war. And but the the feeling is still there. And I've ran into it still. It's like, oh, you were one of them. So it's still there," said Frank Smith, the President of the Idaho Falls Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.
"The younger generation do really well. They come up and they say, thank you. Thank you for your service. That in itself, although it's it's a simple phrase, has that awful lot of meaning to the the veterans from Vietnam," said Ron Naegelin, who was a combat medic in Vietnam.
Now, every year on the 29th of March their experience is honored and remembered.
On Wednesday, March 29, 2023, the Idaho Falls chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America will host an event at the Idaho State Vietnam Memorial in Freeman Park. The event starts at 10 a.m., and the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter will read the names of the individuals on the memorial.
Smith says they may be gone but not forgotten.
"We feel that they're our brothers and will always be our brothers. And we do this three times a year to honor them on veterans holidays."
Smith adds that they work hard to make sure that stays the case for them and the vets afterwards.
"Our creed, is to let no other veteran from this war that from that time forward experience what we did or nor will we leave them behind. So that's how we started and that's why we formed is to help educate the public about what actually happened and why we were there."
Naegelin says that he tried to help save some of the names who are remembered on the Memorial.
"Everyone that was wounded in Vietnam, I was wounded twice. Everyone in Vietnam. The things when they got wounded, they always talked about going home. Mom, and, am I going to be all right? That was the kind of conversations you had in the field under fire."
He says saying, "Thank you for your service" to a Vietnam Vet goes a long way in helping them after their experiences from the war.
They chapter gave out special pins and booklets to the family members of those individuals whose names were read.
All are welcome to attend.