Vietnam Veterans Receive Recognition Five Decades After WarNovember 14, 2017, 8:45 AM HST (Updated November 14, 2017, 8:45 AM)
Hawaiʻi island residents said “welcome home” and “thank you” to its Vietnam veterans at a ceremony, five decades after the war on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium in HIlo.
Vietnam veterans never got a proper welcome home after serving their country in an unpopular war and as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War, the veterans finally got a proper welcome back and thank you, the event press release said.
About 800 veterans, family members and supporters gathered at the stadium the day before the Veterans Day holiday to recognize their service and sacrifice.
There was food, entertainment, speeches by Gov. David Ige, Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Harry Kim.
During an emotional ceremony, each of the veterans proudly stated their name and branch of service before receiving a certificate of recognition and a pin commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and their service.
The veterans also remembered the 51 service members from the Big Island who didn’t come home from the war, including Medal of Honor recipient Rodney Yano.
Surviving family members were also in attendance.
The Hawaiʻi County Elderly Activities Division, AARP Hawaiʻi and local veterans organizations spent a year planning the welcome home ceremony, which is part of the official 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War.
Similar ceremonies were held on Maui and Kaua‘i on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
The ceremony on O‘ahu was held in May during the Memorial Day weekend.