LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans" event started with a proclamation from Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach (read via proxy). The proclamation states that May 30th 2011 is Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
John Stills, retired Major United States Army, had this to say about the proclamation, "It feels great, and I'm glad someone thought of us. Giving us the recognition that we never did receive. It was a big problem when we got back, status of the nation, they were against the war. And when we got back we couldn't even ride in the same taxi with some people".
That feeling was echoed by his comrade James "Jim" Jackson, retired Colonel United States Army. Jackson had a more colorful story, "I came through the airport, Travis air force base. They said 'you gotta go get civilian clothes' and I said 'I can travel in my army uniform and they said 'No sir you can't'. And I said 'Why not?' and they said 'There are problems out there'. We came home and nobody ever, until now, has ever said a nice thing about Vietnam or our people."
WWII Veteran Leo Bradley came out to be with "the fellas". He told us that war is never a happy thing to do but coming home always feels great. And today, Bradley, retired Private First Class Trucking Company was elated to see his Vietnam Veterans get their due.
Ms. Diana Thomas reminded all the grief mothers have when their young is killed in battle. Her son Bryan Thomas was killed June 2008 in Iraq. He leaves behind two children: a girl and a boy. The boy will turn 3yrs old in September. The same boy never got a chance to meet his dad as Bryan was killed just 3 months before he was born. Now, little Jaleel lives in Germany with his mom and travels back and forth to spend time with his American father's family.