New Hampshire's Vietnam Veterans Finally Get Their Day

Mar 30, 2013

Veterans of the Vietnam War were recognized at a ceremony in Concord on Saturday.

But those who served say the recognition was long overdue.

Like most Vietnam veterans, Bob Williams has never forgotten how he was treated after coming home.

“Being shunned. People avoiding me, ya know? Got spit at.”

Williams served in the Air Force. And like many at an event this weekend meant to recognize the efforts of those who served, he proudly donned his jacket and hat, stating he was a Vietnam veteran.

“It’s a long time coming. Better late than never. We’re finally getting what we deserve.”

Thousands packed into the hangar at the New Hampshire National Guard in Concord on Saturday for the ceremony. The Legislature passed a bill last year establishing March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

Governor Maggie Hassan read the proclamation and thanked the veterans for their service.

“It pains me that our nation did not appreciate you enough decades ago.”

Motorcycle engines roared, children waved American flags, and Vietnam veterans who had not seen each other for years shared warm embraces.

Major Greg Heilshorn of the National Guard said he was impressed by the turnout.

"It's a credit to our state and it's a great way to show long overdue respect to our Vietnam veterans."

Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen, as well as Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, also spoke during the event.