East Texans who served honored with Vietnam War Veterans Day events

National Vietnam War Veterans Day
National Vietnam War Veterans Day(KTRE)
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:13 PM CDT

DEEP EAST TEXAS, Texas (KTRE) - On National Vietnam War Veterans Day, Deep East Texas seeks to mend the scars of the unfair welcome received by Vietnam veterans.

The Vietnam war was once the longest war in American history, stretching from 1955 to 1975. This war bitterly divided the U.S., and service members unfairly caught flak once they got home.

Today, National Vietnam War Veterans Day is meant in part, to repair that awful welcome.

Today marks 50 years since the last U.S. COMBAT troops left Vietnam. Events were held in Lufkin and Nacogdoches today to commemorate the day. This day was made official in 2017 by signing The Vietnam War Veterans’ Recognition Act.

Lufkin VFW post 1836 commander, Ashley Bratton, served as a captain in the Army. She says this is the second year to host the event.

“We actually have a volunteer with our axillary who is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, and she led the charge last year on getting us started on having an annual event specifically in honor of our Vietnam veterans,” Bratton said.

Bratton says the VFW commemorates all dates regarding veterans, but National Vietnam War Veterans’ Day is an important one.

“But particularly for our Vietnam veterans what you see is people who are still quite frankly traumatized from the reception that they received returning from war. We want to do our best to make up for possibly lost time, disrespect, honor and support,” Bratton said.

Balloons were released in remembrance.

Vietnam veteran, Lonnie Fisher, First Battalion First Marines was in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970. He says this event means everything to him.

“Now I know people care about us. That’s the main thing, that they aren’t just pushing aside like they did in the early 70′s. How they revolted against us and everything, but right now I think this is good thing,” Fisher said.

The Pineywoods chapter 931 of the Vietnam Veterans of America Also had an event at the Nacogdoches Public Library.

George Lowery, president of the chapter, served as Sergeant in artillery for the Army and says the event was a success.

“Most people appreciate the veterans, and we get a lot more recognition than we did when we came back from Vietnam. People will come up to you and thank you for your service and things like that,” Lowery said.

Around 58 thousand U.S. military members were killed in the Vietnam War, and Deep East Texas hopes this event will help show their appreciation for the survivors.