Vietnam vets welcomed at area ceremony
By Charles Boothe
March 21, 2016
PRINCETON — Area residents and state and local dignitaries showed their appreciation of Vietnam veterans Sunday afternoon at a ceremony at the Memorial Building in Princeton.
The third annual Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day Ceremony was held to “welcome home, honor and recognize Vietnam veterans,” said Marie Blackwell, a member of the ceremony’s organizing committee.
Blackwell said those veterans were “never given that recognition” during and right after they served, and she also drew attention to the more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the more than 300,000 injured.
“We honor these brave men and women and their families,” she said.
The ceremony is part of a broader statewide recognition leading up to March 30, which is Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day in West Virginia.
Col. Daniel Bochicchio, M.D., interim director at the VA Medical Center in Beckley, said he has a “great respect for veterans who served in combat zones.
“I appreciate your sacrifices,” he told the veterans, and he offered to help in any way he could to make their lives better.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, one of the guest speakers, told the veterans that two simple words, “welcome home,” mean “so much,” but Vietnam veterans were not given that courtesy and respect.
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