March 29 is a very important day for veterans of the Vietnam War. In 1973 it was the last day that American servicemen and women were in Vietnam and the day may soon be declared a day of remembrance for those that fought and died in that war. Several who came back returned to a country that insulted and mocked them and their efforts while having no understanding of what was happening “in country.”
On Tuesday, community members came out to remember the sacrifices of several brave men who came back and the ultimate sacrifice of the ones that didn't.
The Welcome Home event was held at the Nueces County Courthouse in front of the Fallen Heroes Monument that is outside on the north side of the courthouse. Organizers include the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 910, the Military Order of the Purple Hearts Alaniz-Valentine Chapter 598, and the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi. Among the attendees were several former soldiers, marines, and family members of those who passed in combat or after coming home. Included in this group of veterans are Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal and Nueces County Sheriff Jim Kaelin.
Ram Chavez with the Veterans Band was the MC of the event and has worked hard to make sure that veterans are not forgotten. The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War began on Memorial Day of 2012 and will extend through Veteran's Day of 2025. The purpose of the long commemoration is to allow recognition efforts to reach the more than 7 million servicemen and women that are still alive today. Several events are currently planned in the area while more veterans are being sought out. “This is us, this is our legacy. If we don't remember them who will?” Chavez said. “We don't leave anybody behind and we make sure no one is forgotten.”