More than 500 Vietnam veterans were hailed as heroes at a special "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans" celebration at Fort Sill on March 29th.
The veterans were treated to the kind of homecoming that service members of today get after a deployment. They boarded buses at the Field Artillery Museum and rode by motorcade to the Rinehart Fitness Center. Marching into the packed gymnasium they were greeted with thunderous applause and cheering that went on for several minutes. Major General Mark McDonald, commanding General of Fort Sill and the Fires Center of Excellence, greeted them with "Vietnam Veterans, welcome back to the United States of America."
After the ceremony the vets were treated to lunch at the Patriot Club, followed by a tour of the Sherman House (the Commanding General's quarters) and the Fort Sill Historic Landmark and Museum. Later, they were special guests at the monthly retirement ceremony.
GEN (Ret) Gordon R.Sullivan, former US Army Chief of Staff, current National President of AUSA (Association of the United States Army), and Vietnam Veteran was the keynote speaker at a special Vietnam War Commemoration event at McMahon Auditorium on March 30. At the conclusion of the ceremony, General Sullivan and his Command Sergeant Major, Jimmie Spencer, unveiled a granite bench the will be places the the Vietnam Memorial in Elmer Thomas Park. The inscription reads: "A grateful nation pays tribute to its heroes, Vietnam Veterans Commemoration, 30 March 2013, Lawton-Fort Sill, Oklahoma."
The two day event hosted by the Lawton-Fort Sill community kicked of a nationwide program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
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