Vietnam veteran's welcome home ceremony in Antelope Valley honors those who served

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- In honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, an organization held a welcome home ceremony in Palmdale to celebrate those who served in the war.

This celebration was nearly 50 years in the making and was a homecoming these Vietnam veterans did not receive when they returned from war.

On March 29, 1973, the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. For many Vietnam veterans, coming home was not easy.

"We were looked down upon for what we were told what to do," said Michael Bertell of The Mobile Vietnam Wall Memorial. "We tossed out our G.I. clothes. We tried to melt back into society. If we were asked how we were doing, we said fine."

The Antelope Valley Wellbeing Coalition is helping to remedy the wrongs of the past by creating awareness of the sacrifice and service of those who were in the Vietnam War.

Dozens in the community came out to show their support and honor them as returning hometown heroes.

"It's something we didn't have when we got home, and it's unfortunate," said Philip Roberts, a retired member of the U.S. navy. "It's about time we had something like this."

Each Vietnam veteran was presented with a commemorative lapel pin specifically created for the ceremony as a show of appreciation. It is a recognition of what the Vietnam veterans endured during the war and coming home.

"When you see a vet, walk up to him and say, 'thank you for your service and welcome home,'" said Roberts.

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