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Vietnam Vets Commemorated With Ceremony

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LAWTON, Okla_More Vietnam Vets were commemorated with a musical tribute and a special guest speaker at McMahon Auditorium on Saturday.


Members of the Community Choir made up of Cameron and Lawton Christian students sang patriotic tunes for an audience of veterans and their families. 

Then a touching speech from former Army Chief of Staff and Vietnam Vet Retired General Gordon R. Sullivan followed. The speech was emotional and powerful as Sullivan's booming voice let the Vets know they are important, and what they've done is important. That's a message that took 40 years for many of them to hear.

The scores of Vets in attendance took this opportunity to recall what it's been like all these years never feeling truly appreciated by their country for the sacrifices they made.

"It's been like carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. You know and I'm not the only one. There are a lot of us -- my kids did not know what I did in Vietnam until, I'm going to say 12 years ago, " said Vietnam Vet Bill Davis.

Other Vets recalled being shocked coming back to the US and discovering they didn't have the support of the nation.

But this weekend all but erased those tainted memories.

The Vets praised the Lawton-Fort Sill community and were elated with their official welcome home.

"This has been more of a healing for us. You know we've adjusted to it, but for this to happen was really a coming home. And it is, words just can't express the gratitude and the feeling and the love that we have for the people here that did this. It is incredible. Just incredible, " said Vietnam Vet Jerry Orr.

Also at the event a commemorative bench was unveiled  with the inscription, "a grateful nation pays tribute to its heroes -- Vietnam Veterans Commemoration -- March 30, 2013."

The bench will sit in Elmer Thomas Park near the war memorial.

This weekend's events were a part of an ongoing series of nationwide events that will culminate in Washington DC on November 11, 2025, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

 

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