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Longmont’s American Legion honors Vietnam War-era veterans

Tuesday marked half a century since last day U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam

After 50 years, a group of Vietnam War-era veterans in Longmont finally heard a crowd thank them for their service and sacrifice and welcome them home.

Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of the last day U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam, now known as the National Vietnam War Veterans Day. At the American Legion Post 32 in Longmont, veterans were honored for their service on Tuesday.

“This commemoration effort is to reach out to all living Vietnam War era veterans and do something that should have been done 50 years ago — to thank and honor all our veterans who served on active duty from Nov. 1, 1955 through May 15, 1975,” American Legion Post 32 Honor Guard member Gene Schiferl said. “You are called a Vietnam War era veteran regardless of where you served.”

He emphasized that no difference is made between where veterans were posted during the era, as all were called to serve and could not determine where they would be stationed. That means all service members are honored for their sacrifice during this time, whether they served in Vietnam or elsewhere.

“They served, they sacrificed, yet received no thanks, no cheers, no parades,” Schiferl said. “Although profoundly impacted by their experiences, those who were able quietly slipped back into their lives they had left as if they had never been gone. I think a lot of us that served experienced that same feeling.”

Roughly a dozen Vietnam War-era veterans received commemorative pins at Tuesday’s ceremony, along with a letter thanking them for their service. They were then joined by other veterans from the era who had already received their pins and applauded by the small crowd at the Legion.

“Now there’s no denying that 50 years is a long time to wait,” Schiferl said. “Regardless it is vital that each and every one of you veterans and your families understand the prominent place you now occupy in the consciousness of our nation.”

Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

Amy Golden is a reporter for the Longmont Leader covering city and county issues, along with anything else that comes her way.
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