Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
GAINESVILLE - More than 58,000 service members in the country made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War and about 1,600 remain missing in action. To recognize the efforts of those who served, Governor Rick Scott has deemed March 30th “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day" in Florida.
We talked to some of the service members here in our area. Throughout our history, courageous men and women have worn the uniform of our armed forces; during their service some have been wounded, while others have died in battle. The state of Florida is home to nearly 500,000 Vietnam-era vets.
An official proclamation from Governor Rick Scott has turned March 30th into "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." On Sunday, the University of Florida took part in recognizing these vets during the Gator baseball game against LSU.
During the game, these vets were welcomed home. Bob Barnas, Vietnam Veterans of Alachua County Chapter president said, "Well it was long time coming and we're all happy that it’s come, but we need to get the word out so more people know next year."
Some of the men from the Vietnam Veterans of America Alachua County Chapter 1092 had the opportunity to go to Tallahassee and be honored during this official day.
Vietnam veteran Paul Albritton said, "Well I am glad that Governor Scott decided to recognize us and welcome us home. When I came home in 1970 to Washington, D.C. there wasn't exactly a welcoming committee there to greet me."
The Alachua county chapter was started about two months ago; the current members hope to build unforgettable bonds with other service members in the community--seeing they all have one thing in common, Vietnam.
Fred Judkins, a member of the chapter said, "It's just a wonderful thing... it's good for the heart." The resolution was passed in order to provide these veterans with the chance at a proper welcome, something many vets are grateful for. "Well Vietnam really lacked a lot of support from the nation and it's difficult for the men who go in battles not have the support of the people back home. Being professionals, we all devoted ourselves to our duty in spite of the reluctance of the people back home," added Judkins.
The Alachua county chapter meets the 4th Thursday of every month at 6 pm in the American Legion Post 16. All Vietnam vets are welcome to join.
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