BROWNSVILLE, Texas – a long-awaited welcome home for veterans of the Vietnam War. Dozens of Rio Grande Valley servicemen received a special pin to commemorate their efforts in the controversial conflict. This is the sixth of its kind presented by U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela in District 34; with many receiving recognition for the first time.
U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela, “It’s startling whenever someone comes to you after 50 years and tells you that this is the first time ever since he came back that anybody acknowledged your service.”
The recognition was made possible through the 2008 National Defense Act. It authorized the commemoration of the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War. Since late 2019, Congressman Vela has been recognizing the community with dedicated pins.
Rolando Moody, veteran, “50 odd years later, we’ve been welcomed back home. This is long overdue. It has been long overdue and we’re extremely grateful for that.”
William Good, veteran, “50 years ago, I can’t believe it’s been that long since I was wearing the uniform. I think about that sometimes, where did the time go.”
Faustino Ramirez, veteran, “This kind of ceremony makes you feel right. It gives you hope for the future.”
“They came back to a nation that was very ungrateful for their service. The Department of Defense, the United States Congress, have gotten together to ensure that those Vietnam Veterans get the orders that they deserve.” said Vela.
Congressman Vela says, along with the recognition, he hopes veterans in the community reach out to their representatives for help with casework and VA benefits.