After 50 Years Vietnam Vets Will Get Their Homecoming
The 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War is approaching.For many Vietnam veterans, coming home from the war is a memory they would like to forget. “A lot of them didn’t come home in uniform like they do today,” said Lt. Colonel Peter Ogden, a Vietnam veteran and Director of the Bureau of Maine Veterans Services. “The recognition was not there.”Ogden is one of the people who have organized an event that will finally, after 50 years, give Vietnam veterans a proper homecoming. “I came home four times and the welcome got worse as the war went on,” recalls Ogden. “I think today it’s our opportunity to stand up as a nation and say thank you.”This Thursday all of Maine’s Vietnam veterans and their families are invited to “The Coming Home March.” Veterans will march across the Two- Cent Bridge from Winslow to Waterville where they’ll receive the hero’s welcome that’s long overdue. “Maine has 150,000 living veterans,” Ogden said. “We have a lot to recognize. We have 46,000 Vietnam veterans out there. A lot of them still have some hard feelings about how they were treated.”343 Mainers lost their lives during the Vietnam War. Veterans who have passed away will be represented by surviving family members.The veterans march starts at 6:00 Thursday night. Any Vietnam era veteran, or a family member of a veteran, who wants to take part is urged to call 430-6035.Members of the public who want to welcome the veterans home are encouraged to arrive between 5:00 and 5:30.