Vietnam Veterans Honored at Fargo Air Museum

A flag was dedicated as part of National Vietnam Veterans' Day

FARGO, N.D. — The Fargo Air Museum held a flag dedication ceremony for veterans of the Vietnam War.

Today is the anniversary of the last U.S. service member leaving Vietnam in 1975.

Veterans say they appreciate the support since they didn’t have it when they came back from the war all those years ago.

“A lot of the guys got hurt emotionally by the way they were received by the public,” said Joe Wallevand, a Vietnam veteran.

Veterans deal with many issues like post–traumatic stress disorder and survivors’ guilt.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp spoke at the event and emphasized the importance of providing veterans with resources to heal.

Some people say the local V.A. is very helpful.

“I found almost everybody is pleased with the way they run things there. They actually put out an honest effort to do what they can to help veterans,” said Mark Helfter, a veteran.

Senator Heitkamp made 15 speeches over the course of several months on the Senate floor, telling the stories of nearly 200 North Dakotans who were killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War.

“They ran to the sound of the guns when our government asked them to serve. And they can never be forgotten,” Heitkamp said.

The event was both a celebration of veterans and a commemoration of those who were lost.

“We didn’t get parades when we came back from service. In fact we were kind of happy then to be ignored because being ignored was the best we could get. Now we see a lot respect but it’s 50 years later,” Helfter said.

“This means a lot. This is different,” Wallevand said.

The National Vietnam War Veterans Day was officially proclaimed last year.

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