Vietnam War era Veterans honored in Grand Chute

Vietnam War era Veterans honored in Grand Chute. (WLUK/Courtney Ryan)

GRAND CHUTE (WLUK) -- A special ceremony was held Monday for Vietnam War era Veterans.

Those are veterans who served between Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975.

"When we got home from Vietnam we didn't get the welcome," explained veteran Kevin Kirst.

Kirst was one of more than 20 Vietnam War era Veterans who received a commemorative lapel pin, and Presidential proclamation honoring his service.

"It's nice that we're finally recognized, that was the thing that I needed to have done for me," said Kirst.

"Whether you served in Germany, the United States, or Vietnam, it doesn't matter, you never got any respect from anybody and we all did hard work, sometime life saving work," said veteran Scott Riewer.

Riewer was also honored, he served with the Marine Corps.

"When we left the service, I left in 68, we put on our civilian clothes right away and drove home or flew home or whatever, because if you had your uniform on people would just spit at you and treat you wrong, and call you baby killer, it was not a good time,"explained Riewer.

Congress Mike Gallagher, a veteran himself, took part in Monday's ceremony thanking each person for their service.

"For any Vietnam era veteran that thinks that their sacrifice didn't amount to anything look at the world and I think it would tell a very different story," said Gallagher.

Gallagher added it's important to honor all veterans who put their lives on the line to save our freedoms.

"Although the wounds of that war can never fully heal, it's important that us, in this community, recognized the Vietnam era Veterans for their sacrifices."

Both Riewer and Kirst say while the recognition is nice, they hope the men and woman serving now receive better welcome homes then they did.

"This helps it, but it'll never make up for everything," said Riewer.

According to the national center for veterans analysis and statistics, the U.S. has about 6.9 million Vietnam War era Veterans.

It's the second largest group of military veterans in the country.

The largest is Gulf War era veterans which total about 7.5 million.

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