Welcome home was well-deserved

Published 8:43 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I’ve often heard it said that the “second annual” is the hardest time to do an event. After all, the first year everybody is excited and thrilled to do something different. However, when it’s all over, you also realize how much energy and effort you’ve had to spend to make the event a success.

It’s easy to just give up on doing something a second time and let the “inaugural” version become the only time. I’m proud to say that not only did the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW put on their second annual “Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home” ceremony Saturday, but they made it even bigger and better, and certainly appear set to have it become an annual occasion.

For those who were not there Saturday, it was truly a touching event. While all veterans are worthy of our respect, it is especially important to honor the Vietnam War veterans, who came home to a country that did not always treat them well. As Mike Hanks pointed out, he was publicly denounced as a “baby killer” on his flight home from combat.

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I’m glad that so many volunteers gave their time and efforts again this year, to ensure that our local Vietnam War veterans received a fitting “welcome home,” even if it came decades after actual combat. It was especially touching to hear that students at Bratt Elementary School had made cards for the veterans — what a great way to teach them about respect at such a young age!

The speakers were truly wonderful, but perhaps the most impressive sight Saturday was just seeing the emotions come over the veterans’ faces. Tears, smiles, and even a few laughs — all had different reactions, but all were touched.

Well done, VFW Ladies Auxiliary. Let’s do it again next year.