Friday, March 29th is Vietnam War Veteran's Day.  The first observance ever held in Wenatchee will be hosted by the American Legion in Memorial Park in a ceremony starting at 12 noon.

Robin Thomsen and Ron Kurpuis with the American Legion Post 10 in Wenatchee say the ceremony is the inaugural observance of Vietnam War Veteran's Day that was federally recognized in 2017.  On March 29th, 1973, the last American combat troops left Vietnam, and American POWs came home.  In March 1974, President Nixon declared that March 29th should be recognized as Vietnam Veterans Day.  The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump on March 29th of that year.

Thomsen served in the military just after Vietnam and Kurpuis was deployed to Vietnam for two tours.  He says every returning Vietnam vet's experience differs but many were treated very poorly.  In large cities, many were called names or spat upon and protests often turned violent.

Kurpuis said servicemen were always treated as heroes when returning from other conflicts both before and since the Vietnam war.  He reminds people that so many who fought in Vietnam were drafted and had to serve.  58,000 never, but those who did, never received a proper welcome home.

When he was discharged, Kurpuis was advised to not wear his uniform or talk about his military service to avoid looking like a member of the military, even growing his hair out.  Kurpuis said he remained silent about his Vietnam service for almost 50 years.

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The ceremony will honor an individual Vietnam Veteran for his service to the country.  e Mayor Poirier will have remarks on behalf of the City of Wenatchee and an Honor Guard will present the colors.  An expanded ceremony and possible parade may be included in 2025.

All veterans and the public are invited to attend.  The event is also supported by the VFW Hall in Wenatchee.

Kurpuis has one wish for anyone greeting a Vietnam Vet; instead of thanking them for their service, a more meaningful gesture is to simply tell Vietnam Vets "Welcome Home"

Friday, March 29th at 12pm at Memorial Park, here is an opportunity to say "Welcome Home"