U.S. ARMY GARRISON YONGSAN, Seoul -- Yellow and orange leaves fell from where they once proudly stood, indicating the beginning of autumn. As the summer comes to a close, service members and civilians celebrate their annual Fall Festival.
Vietnam War Veterans, both American and Korean, were honored in the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans 50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony during the 2017 Fall Festival Sept. 23 at USAG Yongsan.
"Seven million living Vietnam veterans and families of more than 9 million who served are being thanked and honored where they live and work by neighbors, family and friends," said Col. J. Scott Peterson, Commander, USAG Yongsan.
The Vietnam veterans and their guests were escorted by United States Soldiers and Korean Augmentees to the United States Army Soldiers, or KATUSAs, to V.I.P. tents where they were served a meal prepared by the Veteran of Foreign Wars or VFW.
"We feel privileged to be able to honor both the American and Korean veterans of the Vietnam War at our garrison," said Deputy to the Garrison Commander Tommy R. Mize. "The Korea-U.S. alliance is a major pillar of our mission here in Korea, and this ceremony serves to enhance our historical partnership."
While the Vietnam veterans entered the VIP area, they were visited by the Deputy to the Garrison Commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph M. James. Many leaders greeted the veterans with handshakes and some took photographs.
"We are a grateful nation that honors the Vietnam veterans," said Lt. Col. Terrell L. Jones, USAG Yongsan chaplain.
Jones, the guest speaker for the prestigious event, reflected on the Vietnam veterans' hard work and years of criticism from Americans during their time of war. He also reiterated how grateful the America is to their service and sacrifice of those that are not here today.
"I am honored to be here today to pay tribute to all our Vietnam veterans and their family members," said Jones. "More than 1.4 million Vietnam veterans and their families have been honored with ceremonies around the world to recognize their service in Vietnam from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975."
Vietnam veterans were handed certificates and then photographed in front of the crowd waving both U.S. and South Korean flags during the closing of the ceremony.