Vietnam veterans honored in pinning ceremony

Published: Aug. 20, 2022 at 9:04 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - It was an event in Gulfport to help make up for lost time.

Vietnam veterans were honored Saturday for their service the way they should have been decades ago.

It was a salute way past due, as what should have been tributes when they returned...were protests.

“In those years back then, there was a lot of turmoil, lot of people disrespecting airmen, Army, sailors that were serving in Vietnam,” said Air Force veteran Larry McAnally.

It was tough even for those on active duty.

“I don’t want to say how many, but I was in numerous fights,” said Kevin Cuttill with Crusaders for Veterans. “I couldn’t even go to the grocery store in uniform.”

It was bad treatment for those who went through too much to fully explain.

“It wasn’t any fun over there, I guarantee you that,” said Air Force veteran David Carlisle. “The reason it wasn’t any fun because there were people shooting back at you...A lot of people, of course, didn’t come back except in a body bag...And you still remember very vividly.”

Charles Measamer also remembers with a clarity unaffected by the decades.

“I was air traffic control in Da Nang in 1965 and ‘66,” he said. “We only had one runway and it was the busiest airport in the world.”

But the response is changing.

“We’re starting to evolve into a country that cares for our veterans again,” Cuttill said. “So, this pinning brings the significance of that out. And these guys need to be told, ‘Hey, thank you for your service, welcome home, job well done.’ "

Eight Vietnam veterans were celebrated with a ceremony in Gulfport in honor of their service. Crusaders for Veterans partnered with sponsor Humana to put on the inaugural event.

The symbol of appreciation is a simple pin, but it carries a big message.

“It has come to a time now that we can actually recognize those people who served over there,” McAnally said.

“We didn’t get the recognition like they’re doing here, and I think it’s wonderful,” added Measamer.

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