UPDATE: 3/31/2012 5:22 PM
They didn't receive a heroes homecoming. In a time when the war was highly opposed Vietnam veterans returned home to anger and opposition instead of appreciation.
Saturday hundreds joined to try and make up for the past.
"It's extremely moving. The speakers, especially the emotional way that Senator Nohe got was beyond words. Because it affected me and everybody else," says State Captain for the West Virginia Patriot Guard Joe Cumblidge.
Senator David Nohe says this war hit close to home. His good friend was killed in Vietnam. And in a speech, raw with emotion, he honors others who also lost loved ones in that fight.
"For so many of us that's the first time we experienced death. When we lost our friends in the Vietnam War. I think we've all been touched by it. There were so many things wrong with it, and the sacrifices that these soldiers went through were like no other. I mean it was phenomenal," says Senator Nohe.
And those sacrifices were visible on the faces of veterans joined together at the ceremony.
"They carried the scars for a number of years. Things like this give them a sense of closure that actually people to appreciate what they did and that's what it is all about," says Cumblidge.
Every speech answered with rounds of applause, and those veterans who so long awaited recognition for their service, finally got it.
"They went beyond what would be expected of anyone to give for their country and I guess we want to make sure that we never forget them, and that our kids never forget them, and that our grandchildren never forget them," says Senator Nohe.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law Friday a proposal designating the day - along with each March 30 - as Vietnam Veterans' Day.
Supporters say the annual day is set aside to honor those who fought, died or are still unaccounted for in the Vietnam War.
The date had been in flux as lawmakers wrestled with whether they should use March 29 like other states.
Some veterans balked at that proposal. While it's the anniversary of U.S. forces pulling out of Vietnam, it's also the
date when Lt. William Calley Jr. was convicted in the My Lai massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians.
Among those supporting the March 30 designation is retired Air Force Col. Tom Moe, a Vietnam prisoner of war and director of the state's veterans services. Moe attended the bill's signing.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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