Mountain Post honors Vietnam vets
June 15, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- About 500 Vietnam veterans were honored and welcomed home in a ceremony June 10 at Ironhorse Park.
Vietnam veterans from across the country turned out for the daylong festivities, which included a dedication of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial gazebo.
“Today is about celebration of service and celebration of sacrifice and a welcome home to those who gave so much to this country,” said Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, garrison commander.
The veterans were honored with a standing ovation by those in attendance.
“Just as our country appreciates what we do for them, we owe it to you veterans from Vietnam who paved the way for us. Just as our country appreciates our service, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what you did for us,” said McLaughlin.
“Absolutely long overdue. One of our Veterans of Foreign Wars representatives told me that (that) was one of the things that honors today’s Soldiers that are coming back from the wars we are currently involved in -- that (Vietnam veterans) never got a welcome home. I apologize for the American public,” said Brig. Gen. James H. Doty, acting senior commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson.
The celebration included static displays of Vietnam-era vehicles and equipment as well as representatives from various veteran support agencies.
“We who serve in uniform today enjoy the gratitude of a grateful nation, whether it be in the airport, the mall or on the street,” said McLaughlin.
Guest speaker for the event was Maj. Gen. Bobbie Hollingsworth, a retired Marine.
“When we came back from Vietnam we weren’t very well thought of, and that’s an understatement,” said Hollingsworth “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Fort Carson for putting this together.”
The highlight of the week leading up to the welcome home ceremony was “The Wall That Heals” a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. The replica gave a chance for people to see the wall in a local setting.
Approximately 11,300 people visited the wall outside Fort Carson’s Gate 1 June 8 through Monday, according to Bob Dobek, site manager for “The Wall That Heals.”